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Sunday, April 6, 2014
Travis d'Arnaud goes hitless on homestand

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- The Mets' opening homestand is now over, and Travis d'Arnaud is still searching for a hit.

He is now 0-for-15 on the season, after a groundout and two flyouts in the New York Mets' 2-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

For a moment, it looked like d'Arnaud had finally broken through. In the bottom of the seventh inning, with a runner on first base, d'Arnaud connected with a 93-mph fastball from Reds starter Alfredo Simon and drove it toward the left-field seats.

A home run would have given the Mets the lead. But the ball died at the warning track.

The pitch "got in on me a little bit, but I thought I got enough of it," d'Arnaud said. "What can you do?"

Pressure is quickly mounting on the 25-year-old catcher, whom the Mets acquired in a deal for Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey in December 2012, along with pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard.

The strength of d'Arnaud's game was supposed to be his bat. But in 31 games with the Mets last year, he hit just .202. And this year, his first full season in the big leagues, is obviously not off to a good start.

"Are you concerned? I’m worried about his mental approach more than anything," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "[Travis] certainly came into the season as an integral part not only of the defense, but the offense -- his spot in that lineup, we gotta get some production out of it. So I just want him to make sure that [he knows] he’s gotta battle through it."

Collins said before Sunday's game that he's already had "numerous discussions" with d'Arnaud, about keeping his head up and continuing to battle.

"There’s no easy answers here," Collins said. "The only way you do it is grind it out, have an approach, stick with it, don’t overswing -- don’t do anything different except try to put a good swing on it, a good consistent swing on the baseball."

For his part, d'Arnaud did not seem distraught after the game.

"I feel good," he said. "Just having that short swing and keeping my eye on the ball, and they’ll start falling eventually."

And he's not the only Met struggling at the plate, that's for sure. They only had four hits off Simon and reliever Manny Parra on Sunday -- a double and single by Ike Davis, an RBI single by Juan Lagares and a double by Eric Young Jr.

For Young, it was just his second hit in 19 at-bats (.105). Curtis Granderson went 0-for-4 with two more strikeouts, and is batting .167.

As a team, the Mets are batting .187 -- second-worst in the majors, ahead of only the San Diego Padres.

For d'Arnaud, his next chance comes Tuesday night in Atlanta.

"I still feel pretty confident," d'Arnaud said. "Slowing everything down, that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple days. And I’ve hit a few line drives, so it’s been working out."