When the New York Mets sent Antonio Bastardo to the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday, one could only think of an old I Love Lucy expression.
“Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do!”
But, instead of grumpy old Fred Mertz, there’s not so grumpy manager Terry Collins and instead of a bandleader from Cuba, we have a leftfielder from Cuba.
And starring in the role of the zany redhead is zany lefthander Jon Niese.
You see, Niese decided to go with the nuclear option on the way out the door, when he was sent to the Three Rivers for second baseman Neil Walker. He first decided to make some remarks about his former employer, before subletting his apartment to the Mets new second baseman.
“I’m sure what I’ll appreciate more than anything is the way [the Pirates] play defense,” he said back in December.
And now he’s back, after failing with the Bucs in front of their stellar gloves. So what does Mr. Niese have to say for himself?
“I know my teammates and I think they knew what I meant about what I said,” Niese said. “I really never meant to, from what I said, I didn’t really mean to criticize the Mets defense. All I really said was that I was excited to pitch in front of the Pirates defense. It’s unfortunate the way it got turned around but certainly not what I meant by it, but kind of is what it is. I’ve talked to a lot of the guys in the clubhouse and they respect me and I respect them and always loved them from the first time I played for them.”
Ok, we’ll go with that.
However, Niese was upfront and said he didn’t pitch well in Pittsburgh, pitching to a 5.13 ERA. The Mets hope the change in scenery will bring the lefthander back to form, even if he has to pitch with Amazin’ gloves behind him.
He will now be in the bullpen as probably a long man for Collins, maybe even a spot starter and insurance for the rotation.