Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Mets [Print without images]

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Buck shots get catcher off to quick start

By Adam Rubin

John Buck hit only .192 last season with the Miami Marlins. So the catcher particularly welcomed his performance during his first series as a Met.

Not only did Buck homer in each of the final two games of the series, he is 6-for-12 and has five RBIs already in his Mets career. His ninth-inning homer against closer Huston Street moved the Mets within a run Thursday afternoon in a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres.

Buck now has 50 homers since the start of the 2010 season. That is third-most in the majors during that span among catchers, trailing only Atlanta's Brian McCann (62 as a catcher) and Baltimore's Matt Wieters (57). Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana also have more homers than Buck, but those catchers also saw significant time at first base.

"Last year I was hard on myself offensively," Buck said. "But I think I got better defensively. ... All those catching coaches that told you, 'It's about defense, it's about defense' -- that kind of got put to the test last year. I think what I got out of last year was being a lot more mentally tough and take what I'm given and not try so hard."

His former team, although barely recognizable, comes to Citi Field this weekend.

"Revenge? No," Buck asked about his motivation against the Marlins. "... There's only a couple  [teammates] left. Obviously I still have good friends over there. So it's more of a competitive thing -- competing against friends and wanting to beat them. Going to dinner with them afterward, I want to be able to brag. Nothing more than that."