- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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MIAMI -- Travis d'Arnaud is hitting .432 (19-for-44) with six homers and 15 RBIs in 11 games since a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. The success is as simple as being able to clear his head, the 25-year-old rookie catcher maintained.
A look at the pitchers against whom Travis d'Arnaud had homered since his demotion:
“It was all mental,” d’Arnaud told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Just focusing in on every at-bat like it’s my last at-bat. Not thinking about a hundred different things. Just focusing on one thing and keeping a solid approach on each and every pitch. I kind of went away from that (before the demotion). ... I feel like my concentration is up and I’m able to focus in easier. I feel good. I’m in a good place.”
D'Arnaud was hitting .180 with three homers in 128 at-bats with the Mets before being sent to Vegas after the Mets' June 7 game at San Francisco.
“He needed to clear his head a little bit, come down here, have some success and get some confidence built back up,” 51s manager Wally Backman told the newspaper. “I’m sure his stay here is probably short term. ... We pushed him pretty quick to the big leagues because of need. There’s more pressure in the big leagues, without question, not only to catch and call a game and run a pitching staff, [but] being a rookie catcher in the big leagues in a big market. Plus you’ve got to hit.”
Sources have told ESPNNewYork.com that d'Arnaud is most likely to return Tuesday or Wednesday, during the Mets' home series against the Oakland Athletics.
Backman indicated there was one mechanical tweak that Vegas hitting coach George Greer made.
“George moved his back foot closer to the plate,” Backman said. “He was having a hard time hitting the pitch away, but now he can cover the whole plate. If it was that simple all the time, it’d be great. That’s one of the things he wasn’t doing in the big leagues.”