C. Young, d'Arnaud deliver under pressure

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24
11:50
PM ET
NEW YORK -- If Chris Young was in danger of being cut, he's probably not anymore.

A day after ESPNNewYork.com colleague Adam Rubin reported the Mets were considering releasing him, the beleaguered outfielder homered twice against the Oakland Athletics in a stunning 10-1 victory.

"It felt good, for myself and for the entire team," Young said. "Just to come out there and swing the bats like we did, especially at home, it was a nice win against a really good ballclub."

The Mets weren't just facing the team with the best record in baseball on Tuesday. They also were facing Scott Kazmir, the pitcher with the best ERA in the American League (2.08).

[+] EnlargeChris Young
Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsChris Young and Travis d'Arnaud accounted for three of the Mets' four home runs against the A's.
Kazmir, the former Mets farmhand, was 4-0 in his past five starts, giving up just five earned runs in 35 1/3 innings. Yet the Mets tagged him for seven runs in just three innings of work, including three long balls.

Curtis Granderson and Young went back-to-back in the second inning, giving New York an early 3-0 cushion. Travis d'Arnaud, recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, took Kazmir deep in the third. And then Young knocked another one out of the park in the fifth off reliever Jim Johnson.

Young entered the day hitting just .201 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 59 games, and he hadn't gone yard since May 29 in Philadelphia, leading to talk that the Mets could send him packing.

"[When] you're a big leaguer and you're not doing good, sometimes things are said," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And I'm sure he just said, 'Well I'm gonna go play,' and he went out and played and had a big night for us. He showed exactly why he's here. And hopefully -- [while] he's not gonna get two homers a night -- he'll continue to put good at-bats together and good swings, because he can be productive."

The Mets actually sent d'Arnaud packing earlier this month, for Las Vegas, after the young catcher hit just .180 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 39 games to start the year. He tore it up in a little over two weeks with the Triple-A 51s (.436, six homers, 16 RBIs in 15 games), leading to his return to New York on Tuesday.

d'Arnaud finished 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, but Collins really liked what he saw from his young catcher.

"He's always been a confident kid," the manager said. "But I think what we saw tonight, [it] wasn't just the home run, it was the swings total. Every time up, even if he didn't hit the ball he took better swings, more aggressive swings. I think maybe the time down there really did help him."

d'Arnaud recollected his early-season struggles and reflected on Tuesday evening’s effort.

"I forgot how fun this game really was," d'Arnaud said. "I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. Now I’m just relaxed, having fun."

d'Arnaud will continue to be in the regular lineup, presumably for the rest of the season.

But Young's status is less certain, despite his output Tuesday night.

Juan Lagares is just about ready to come off the disabled list and will probably play almost every day once he returns, as will Granderson. That leaves just one outfield spot to be shared by Young, Eric Young Jr. and Bobby Abreu.

And Chris Young arguably has been the least productive of those three this year.

But perhaps Tuesday's performance is the start of a turnaround? Young just missed hitting a third home run when his seventh-inning drive was caught at the wall. And he does have four 20-plus homer seasons on his résumé, although none since 2011.

"Those [playing time] decisions aren't in your hands. So you stressing about it isn't going to help the situation," Young said. "All you can do as a player is just come out and do the same amount of work you do every day to prepare for a ballgame and be ready for whatever opportunity comes your way."
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.295 8 42 62
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 19
RBIL. Duda 60
RD. Murphy 62
OPSL. Duda .864
WB. Colon 10
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 125