This time one week ago, New York Mets fans were scratching their heads after center fielder Brandon Nimmo was sent down to triple-A for pitcher Corey Oswalt.
New York's bullpen was working at a high rate to start the season and Oswalt was brought in as a depth option should manager Mickey Callaway choose to give one of the bell cows of his relievers a rest.
The transaction was understandable, despite the 25-year-old Nimmo batting .333 with a .600 on-base percentage in his first six games of the season, as there was a logjam at center field. Michael Conforto's early return from a dislocated shoulder would have left Nimmo and Juan Lagares short on playing time. Whether it was to keep Lagares' stellar glove available or to ensure Nimmo got regular at-bats to keep developing, the latter found himself in Las Vegas for what turned out to be a very short stay.
After just one game with the 51's, Nimmo was on his way back to New York after injuries to catchers Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki last week. The Mets were forced to call up light-hitting catchers Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido to fill the void behind the plate, but also brought back Nimmo to provide more offense off the bench.
He took full advantage of his return, going 3-5 with a triple and the game-tying home run in the bottom of the sixth which helped set up Wilmer Flores' walk-off win on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers. It brought his 2018 totals to .400 with that home run and a .571 on-base percentage.
That kind of production will make it difficult for Lagares to get in many games as he and Nimmo will continue to compete for playing time when Conforto requires rest days. Lagares has been no slouch early on this season, batting .350 in his first nine games.
But Nimmo will take his playing time any way possible on the high-flying Mets.
"You have to just try and help the team however you can. What's special about this team, if you talk to a lot of the guys around here, it's the most talented team they've played on. So yeah, that makes at-bats hard to come by, but that also makes a World Series a very plausible thing," Nimmo said (h/t Newsday). "How many opportunities do you get to do that? I want to be part of a World Series team. And if that means I need to come off the bench and put up a good at-bat for a pinch-hit or whatever, it may be then that's what I'm going to do. If they need me to start because someone is feeling a little rough that day, then that's what I'm going to do. They'll get the best effort that I can because I want to see this team winning the World Series at the end of the year."