Hudgens says d'Arnaud should improve

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Terry Collins indicated at the end of last season that he wanted Travis d'Arnaud to cut down on his swing, making it more compact.

Hitting coach Dave Hudgens believes that will be accomplished without the need for conscious mechanical adjustments.

"I think cutting down his swing just means not trying so hard," Hudgens said Tuesday. "I think when he came up last year he was trying -- maybe not in his mind -- but it looked like he was trying to hit every ball out of the ballpark and overswinging a little bit and probably just trying to do too much. Watching him this year, so far early in camp, his swing has been easy. He's been staying in the middle of the field. And that will lend to less effort and less bat wrap."

D'Arnaud hit .202 with one homer and five RBIs in 99 at-bats with the Mets last season. He struck out 21 times.

What is d'Arnaud's offensive capability? Is it .270 or .280 with 20 homers?

"Who knows?" Hudgens said. "I'm not putting any numbers on guys. He's got a chance to be a very good offensive player. I mean, he's got very quick hands. He's got a good idea at the plate. I think it's just experience and confidence and getting that playing time. I think last year when he came up he hadn't played that much [because of injuries]. So I think a big thing is just staying healthy."

One thing is clear: Expecting d'Arnaud to replicate Mike Piazza's career is asking too much.

"Piazza, I guess, was the greatest hitting catcher who ever lived," Hudgens said. "I just want Travis to be Travis."
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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