PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Outfielder Matt den Dekker's eye-opening spring came to an unfortunate end in the seventh inning Sunday, when the rookie broke his right wrist diving for a ball. The Mets sent den Dekker to New York to determine whether surgery is necessary.
"We don't know how serious it is," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "It's serious enough, but we won't know any details about the exact condition or the recovery time until the doctors take a look up in New York."
Ranging back in an attempt to glove Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson's triple, den Dekker lunged unsuccessfully for the ball and landed awkwardly on his wrist. The Mets initially called the injury a bruise, but sent den Dekker to a local hospital for X-rays that revealed the break. Prior to leaving, den Dekker winced visibly as trainer Ray Ramirez tightened a wrap around his wrist.
"I'm pretty concerned about it," manager Terry Collins said before learning of the break. "Hopefully it's nothing serious and he doesn't miss a lot of time. He's played great. He really has had a great spring defensively and he's been fun to watch."
For a center fielder as aggressive on defense as den Dekker, injuries can be an occupational hazard. Collins admitted that much, but said he would never ask a player like that to change.
"The minute you stop diving," Collins said, "you'll be an average player."
Likely facing an imminent Minor League demotion anyway due to his struggles at the plate, den Dekker had been bound for Triple-A Las Vegas since the early days of spring. But the Mets did not want to see his first big league camp end like this.
Better news came Sunday for fellow center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who returned to the starting lineup as a designated hitter for the first time since March 3. Nieuwenhuis, who had been battling a bone bruise in his left knee, finished 0-for-3 with two walks.
"It felt really good to be back out there for sure," said Nieuwenhuis, who also appears ticketed for Vegas. "It's definitely something to build on."