New York Mets: Travis d'Arnaud

d'Arnaud returns, with something to prove

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24
NEW YORK -- Travis d'Arnaud was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday and immediately put in the lineup by Mets manager Terry Collins.

d'Arnaud will catch and bat seventh Tuesday in the series opener against the Oakland Athletics.

"I feel good," d'Arnaud said prior to the game. "I’m excited to be back with this great group of guys here, and looking forward to playing this game that we all love."

d'Arnaud was demoted following the Mets' 5-4 loss in San Francisco on June 7, after hitting just .180 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 39 games -- a stunning development for the highly regarded prospect.

He tore it up at Triple-A, batting .436 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 15 games for the 51s, which had to boost his confidence. But the 25-year-old said the most important thing was a conversation he had immediately after his demotion -- with himself.

"Like I said when I left, I knew I had work to do. Like I said before I left, it was unacceptable," d'Arnaud said. "So I had a long look in the mirror with myself, and had a good conversation with myself, and found myself."

d'Arnaud did tinker with his swing while in Las Vegas, but estimated his struggles earlier this year were "probably 95 percent mental, (and) five percent physical and technical."

It sounds like the young catcher was thinking a little too much. "Instead of just hitting the ball hard, I was worried about the results," d'Arnaud said.

The manager sounds cautiously optimistic.

"I have no idea what goes on between the ears of players. They’re told all the right things in my opinion, they’ve gotta go apply it," Collins said. "Obviously he went down, made a couple of adjustments which I’ve heard from their hitting guy down there, and the results are outstanding. So I hope it translates into that same type of production up here."

Collins 'a little concerned' about d'Arnaud

May, 14, 2014
May 14
NEW YORK -- At first, Travis d'Arnaud seemed to come out of his encounter with Alfonso Soriano's bat with nothing more than a slight headache.

Wednesday, the New York Mets began to have concerns that it could be something more serious. And now there's a real chance that d'Arnaud could be heading for baseball's seven-day concussion disabled list.

d'Arnaud passed initial concussion tests Tuesday night, after Soriano inadvertently hit him on the helmet with his backswing in a ninth-inning at-bat. The Mets catcher even remained in the game to catch the final out.

But d'Arnaud was still feeling the effects of the hit Wednesday, and when he felt more symptoms after going through workouts at Citi Field, the Mets decided to administer further concussion tests. Manager Terry Collins said Wednesday night that d'Arnaud will have another test on Thursday.

"I'm a little concerned about him," Collins said.

The Mets have summoned catcher Juan Centeno from Triple-A Las Vegas. While Centeno has not yet been added to the roster, the Mets want him available in case d'Arnaud goes on the DL.

Riding the wave I: Collins gave a simple explanation for giving Ruben Tejada a fourth consecutive start at shortstop, after saying Tuesday that he expected Wilmer Flores to play.

"He's too hot to take out," Collins said.

Tejada lost his job a week ago when the Mets called up Flores from Triple-A Las Vegas, then got a reprieve when Flores got sick and had to miss Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Tejada has reached base seven times in three games since then, and has also impressed the Mets with his play at shortstop.

Riding the wave II: Collins also gave Eric Young Jr. a fourth straight start as the Mets leadoff hitter, for the exact same reason. Young had become a part-time player when Juan Lagares came off the disabled list, but he has proven himself too valuable to leave out of the lineup.

Entering play Wednesday, the Mets were 17-11 with Young as their leadoff hitter, and 2-8 when he didn't play. Young had scored 10 first-inning runs, tied with Mike Trout and Jose Bautista for the most in the majors.

"You just start the day excited, because you don't know what the day will bring," Young said of his first-inning success.

Collins praised Young for being willing to adapt.

"I just told him, 'Quit trying to just be a singles hitter, and be the type of hitter you are,'" Collins said. "He's doing a good job. He's doing the things we want. So he's back in there."

Super (2) reasoning: Alderson further explained the Mets' thinking on promoting rookie pitchers Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom this week, and disputed the idea that the so-called Super 2 deadline could or should have played into it. Teams sometimes delay calling up top prospects before mid-June in hopes of delaying their eligibility for salary arbitration by a year.

"When we brought up [Matt] Harvey and [Zack] Wheeler, it was really about their readiness," Alderson said. "There's no question you always have your eye on years of control, and Super 2. But the main question is, are they ready or are they not?"

The Super 2 deadline is not a set date, but rather an estimate of how many days' service time a player would need to become arbitration eligible two years later. It's normally sometime in June; Alderson said that if the Mets had been closer to that date when making decisions on Montero and deGrom, it may have figured in.

Stats to know: The Subway Series

May, 12, 2014
May 12
Both the New York Mets and New York Yankees enter this year’s Subway Series a little cold, though the Mets can say they have a sliver of momentum after rallying from three runs down in the ninth inning to beat the Philadelphia Phillies, while the Yankees couldn’t complete a comeback against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Let’s take a look at some of the statistical storylines in this matchup.

The rivalry
The Mets won all four of their meetings with the Yankees last season and currently ride that winning streak, the longest against their crosstown rival. In fact, their pitchers were walk-free in each of the last three games in that series.

The Mets are 40-54 all time in regular-season games against the Yankees, including 17-30 all time at Yankee Stadium, but have won their past two games there.

Who’s hot?
The hottest players on each team are not names you’d expect -- Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy and Yankees utility man Yangervis Solarte.

Murphy is coming off a series against the Phillies in which he went 5-for-12 with five walks. He’s hitting .343 with a .918 OPS over his past 24 games, missing on only nine percent of his swings.

Solarte is 9-for-20 with seven RBIs in his past six games, with at least one hit in each one. That includes six hits in nine at-bats against left-handed pitching (started the season 10-for-44).

Who’s not?
Both team’s starting catchers are slumping.

The Yankees' Brian McCann has a hit in each of his past two games, but he is 6-for-43 in his past 11. The effects of the shift continue to take their toll on McCann, who is 2-for-17 when hitting a ground ball in that span.

The Mets' Travis d’Arnaud has hovered at or below .200 all season. He’s currently in a 5-for-30 slump that has dipped his batting average to .202.

One of d’Arnaud’s biggest issues is that once he gets to two strikes, he’s an almost automatic out. He’s 3-for-41 in two-strike counts this season.

Captains Clutch
You can read all about Derek Jeter’s career history of tormenting the Mets in our latest “Jeet Sheet,” but it’s worth noting that David Wright has a pretty good history against the Yankees.

Wright has a .316/.381/.546 slashline (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) in 46 games against the Yankees. Wright’s .927 OPS against the Yankees is his third-best against any team he’s faced at least 10 times (trailing the 1.021 against the Dodgers and 1.010 against the Rockies).

Tanaka meets the Mets
Masahiro Tanaka will face the Mets at Citi Field on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see if the Mets’ patient approach at the plate works against Tanaka, who has gotten hitters to miss on 52 percent of swings against his split-fingered fastball this season.

Granderson returns
Curtis Granderson returns to Yankee Stadium as a Met, and though he’s struggled this season, he’s hitting .308 with 12 hits in his past 11 games.

Granderson will try to find his power stroke in the Bronx. He had 47 home runs combined at Yankee Stadium in 2011 and 2012. He’s hit only three in 48 home games since then.

Flick of the RISP
The Mets have endured some significant struggles with runners in scoring position of late. However, they are hitting .247 in those situations this season, which is actually two points better than the Yankees, who have boosted their season numbers by going 12-for-30 in their past four games.
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."

D'Arnaud, Wheeler & Co. have room to grow

October, 3, 2013
Read or listen to any interview with Sandy Alderson and he’ll bring up the idea that the Mets don’t just need to get better players, they need to find ways to make their own players better.

With that in mind, let’s look at the roster and cite the five biggest improvements that would be key to getting better performances in 2014.

D'Arnaud: Bat wrap
As John Kruk pointed out after watching Travis d'Arnaud on "Sunday Night Baseball," the Mets catcher takes a long time to get his swing going.

As the heat map on the right shows, d'Arnaud did not have success in areas of the plate in which it would be necessary for a good hitter to perform well.

D'Arnaud acknowledged this at season’s end.

"That was more me trying to hit the ball 600 feet," he said. "When I would try to do that, I would overwrap or overswing pretty much, and it would just dig me in a bigger hole."

Now it’s up to him to fix it.

Wheeler: Fastball command/third pitch
The Mets saw a couple of different versions of Zack Wheeler in his first 100 big league innings.

One distinction was between the Wheeler who commanded his fastball and the Wheeler who didn’t. Wheeler’s five best starts of the year in terms of fastball strike rate and fastball called-strike rate were a match.

The chart on the right shows the difference between how Wheeler fared in those games versus how he fared in his other 12 starts.

That’s not to say he didn’t have good games when his fastball command was erratic, but good fastball command for him was a key to success.

The other key for Wheeler will be gaining confidence in his curveball or changeup. Wheeler averaged about 10 curves and three changeups per game but threw them for strikes about half the time. His curveball strike rate ranked 11th worst among the 143 pitchers who made at least 10 starts and threw at least 100 curves.

Murphy: Defense
Daniel Murphy played a good first 500 innings in the field this season. He looked comfortable at second base, was effective turning double plays and overall rated as a major league average defender, well better than he did in previous tries at the position.

Then came a switch to first base when Ike Davis was demoted. After the results of that were not good, Murphy returned to second base and returned to his former struggling self. He started botching routine grounders he was previously fielding, as the chart on the right (which focuses on the sabermetric stat RZR) shows.

Murphy finished the season at minus-13 Defensive Runs Saved at second base, two runs worse than he did in 2012 in about 200 more innings.

Unless it improves, Murphy’s defense is going to be a hindrance to his overall value (costing him 1.5 Wins Above Replacement in 2013).

The first two months of the season showed his defense could improve. It’s something he needs to continue working on with Tim Teufel.

Young: Home cooking
When Alderson spoke Monday about the Mets needing players to hit better at Citi Field, he was talking about players like Eric Young Jr.

Young had a .201 batting average at home as a Met, compared to .293 on the road.

There’s a specific reason his home numbers weren’t as good. Young’s ratio of balls hit on the ground (including bunts) to balls hit in the air was 107-to-67 on the road but only 75-to-65 at home. And in Citi Field, Young was hitting twice as many fly balls as line drives, whereas on the road, the two were an even split.

Citi Field is a big ballpark. Young’s fly balls are conducive to easy outs. He hit .140 when he hit one there, .235 when he hit a ground ball.

Young’s role on this team is to get on base and turn singles into doubles and triples by stealing bases. The easiest way for him to do that is to hit the ball on the ground as often as possible. That’s the mindset the team will be looking for, as Terry Collins acknowledged throughout September.

Lagares: Smarter approach
Juan Lagares produced tremendous value with his defense, but his offensive game needs a lot of work.

Lagares’ chase rate (how often he swung at pitches out of the strike zone) and called-strike rate (how often he took a pitch called a strike) were both about 6 percentage points above the league average.

In other words, Lagares often took when he should have swung and swung when he should have taken.

Much of this stemmed from Lagares’ inability to handle a good slider from a right-handed pitcher. Lagares made 58 outs and had eight hits and two walks against that pitch.

Every Mets right-handed-hitting position player fared better, and most were considerably better.

Lagares needs to do with sliders what he does with fielding fly balls -- catch up to them.

d’Arnaud vs. Hamilton showdown brewing

September, 23, 2013
CINCINNATI -- Travis d'Arnaud slightly nodded his head in agreement at the suggestion that he was facing a situation similar to a movie gunslinger in a potential showdown with Cincinnati base-stealing prodigy Billy Hamilton.

"That's a perfect analogy," the Mets catcher said.

Hamilton, who set a professional baseball record with a combined 155 stolen bases at two minor league stops in 2012, has been shattering records while going 12-for-12 since the Reds added him to their roster on September 2. The outfielder wasn't in Cincinnati's starting lineup for Monday's series-opener against the Mets, but d'Arnaud and manager Terry Collins figured they'd see him at some point.

"It's fun for me," said d'Arnaud, who'd thrown out four of the 22 runners trying to steal with him behind the plate this season.

d'Arnaud has faced accomplished base-stealers in his career -- and his life, he said, mentioning his older brother, Pirates outfielder Chase, who is 153-for-185 in his minor league career and 13-for-15 in 56 major league games.

"I'm 1-for-3 against him, and he never lets me hear the end of it," Travis said.

Like most managers, Collins believes stopping a prolific base-stealer depends as much or more on the pitcher than the catcher.

"We know he can run," Collins said before Monday's game. "It depends on who's on the mound. Whoever it is, we'll do our best to keep him close. We might change some things up to get his attention. So far, he's been pretty hard to stop. Travis is 1.8 to second base, so you'd better be fast to outrun him, but if [Hamilton] gets the right pitch in the right situation, he's hard to stop."

Centeno starts, but d'Arnaud on mend

September, 18, 2013
NEW YORK -- Juan Centeno will make his major league debut for the Mets on Wednesday, batting eighth and catching. But manager Terry Collins is hopeful Travis d'Arnaud will be back behind the plate on Thursday.

d'Arnaud left Tuesday's game early after taking a foul ball off his right shoulder. "He's pretty sore, but he's better than yesterday," Collins said. "I'm hoping that tomorrow he's OK."

Centeno, 23, was a 32nd-round draft pick of the Mets back in 2007, and has been working his way through the farm system. He began this season at Double-A Binghamton but was quickly promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he hit .305 with zero home runs and 28 RBIs in 67 games.

"You can expect the kid to show you all of the fundamentally correct ways to catch and throw," Collins said. "He's about as good a defender as we have, and he's gotten better offensively. He's not gonna be a big power guy, but he's gonna get some hits."

The series in Metrics (Mets vs. Marlins)

September, 16, 2013
The Mets won three of four games from the Marlins over the weekend, the victories coming much more from their pitching work than their hitting. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.

Props for Travis d’Arnaud
Travis d’Arnaud has not hit well since being recalled, but he earned his money in Sunday’s win by catching 12 innings and getting the walk-off hit in the 12th inning in the series finale.

D’Arnaud is the first Mets starting catcher to get a go-ahead hit in the 12th inning or later since Ronny Paulino did so against the Phillies in 2011.

That doesn’t sound as cool as the other note we like: d’Arnaud is the first Mets starting catcher to get a walk-off hit in the 12th inning or later since Gary Carter did so in Game 5 of the 1986 NLCS against the Houston Astros.

The RBI hit snapped an 11-game RBI drought for d’Arnaud.

Another extra-inning game
The 1-0 win was the Mets 18th extra-inning game of the season, the most they’ve played in a season since playing 18 in 2009.

The Mets have a pair of 1-0 shutouts this season, both of which ended in walk-off fashion in extra innings. The other came against the White Sox on May 7 (when Matt Harvey allowed one hit in nine innings). The last time the Mets had a pair of 1-0 walk-off shutouts was in 2006.

The win marked the 11th time the Mets have won a game of 12 or more innings via shutout, the third time in the last 20 seasons (the others being Opening Day 1998 against the Phillies and May 31, 2006 against the Diamondbacks).

Matsuzaka the winner
Daisuke Matsuzaka became the 326th different pitcher in Mets history to win a game (Vic Black became the 327th on Sunday) and joins Masato Yoshii, Hisanori Takahashi, Ryota Igrashi, Hideo Nomo, Kaz Ishii, Takashi Kashiwada and Shingo Takatsu as the eighth born in Japan to do so.

Matsuzaka was the 85th different Mets starter to pitch at least seven innings and allow two hits or fewer. The pitcher with the most such games in Mets history is Sid Fernandez with 13.

Matsuzaka has had much better success with two strikes in his last two starts, holding opponents to one hit in 24 at-bats. They had 10 two-strike hits against him in his first three starts.

Anemic offense
The Mets outscored the Marlins 8-7 in that four-game series, concluding a rough week on the offensive front. The Mets hit .169 with a .471 OPS over the last seven days, both of which ranked worst in the majors.

They are 7-for-38 with runners in scoring position on this homestand, which would explain why they would like David Wright to return to the lineup in the next few days.

Standings watch
The Mets are 67-82 with a .450 winning percentage. That ranks eighth-worst in the majors in a season in which the teams that finish in the bottom 10 in the standings get to protect their first-round draft pick when signing a free agent who has received a qualifying offer (basically a good free agent).

They would still lose their second pick if they signed one of those free agents, but would maintain that top-10 selection.

The Mets currently lead the No. 11 teams in the standings, the Padres and Giants, by 1 1/2 games.

Notes: Vic Black gets first win

September, 15, 2013
NEW YORK -- One newcomer picked up his first career walk-off hit.

And because of it, a fellow newcomer picked up his first career win.

Travis d'Arnaud's walk-off RBI single made a winner of Vic Black in the Mets' 1-0 win in 12 innings over the Marlins on Sunday at Citi Field. Black pitched a perfect 12th inning.

[+] EnlargeCollins/Gee
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsDillon Gee was pulled after 7 1/3 scoreless innings.
"Of course it's always exciting to get your first win," Black said. "The first of many hopefully."

The Mets acquired Black from Pittsburgh in the deal that sent outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck to the Pirates. The Mets have thrown him into their bullpen and he's done a nice job thus far as he has a 3.68 ERA spanning nine games with the team.

He entered the game in the 12th inning on Sunday and retired the order in side. Mets manager Terry Collins complimented the job the bullpen did in holding the Marlins scoreless for 4 2/3 innings on Sunday afternoon. The Mets bullpen gave up just two hits in that stretch.

"It came down to we had to get some relief pitching and we got it," Collins said.

GEE THE GREAT: Starter Dillon Gee's fantastic outing on Sunday was wasted by the Mets' offensive struggles. Gee threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings and struck out eight while yielding six hits in a no-decision.

Gee cruised for most of the afternoon against a weak Marlins lineup. The Marlins had a grand opportunity in the second when they had a man on third with one out, but Gee struck out the next two batters to avoid any damage. He departed the game with a man on in the eighth.

"I think the key today was being able to throw off-speed pitches for strikes," Gee said. "Threw a lot of curveballs and changeups first pitch, especially tried to get ahead in the count with something other than the fast ball."

After Sunday's start, Gee has now thrown 187 innings on the season, which potentially puts him in line for a 200-inning season, which would be the first time he's done so in his career. The 187 innings Gee has thrown this year are already a career-high for the 27-year-old.

"That's very important. That was the main goal out of spring training, to make every start every time it's your turn and try to get the 200 mark," Gee said. "It's a big goal I think for a lot of starting pitchers."

FLORES FINE: Third baseman Wilmer Flores had his ankle stepped on, but he said he was fine. Flores twisted his ankle in August. He was replaced for a pinch-runner in the 10th inning after singling to center. Flores went 1-for-4.

Travis d'Arnaud saves the day

September, 15, 2013
NEW YORK -- For the most part, Travis d'Arnaud had cleaned himself up after Sunday's game, but there was still proof he had just been the hero.

The whipped cream was still smeared into the collar of his shirt, and he still had speckles of it on his face and in his hair. There was no doubt who had received the celebratory pie to the face after the Mets' 1-0 win in 12 innings over the Marlins.

[+] EnlargeD'Arnaud
AP Photo/Seth WenigTravis d'Arnaud celebrates after a walk-off single.
"That was pretty fun, for sure," D'Arnaud said.

The prized rookie catcher collected his first career walk-off hit as his RBI single propelled the Mets over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field. D'Arnaud said that hit was the first walk-off hit he's ever had in his career spanning all levels.

"It's big," D'Arnaud said. "Extra-innings game, bases loaded, and to get that hit is an indescribable feeling."

D'Arnaud, the main prospect the team acquired from Toronto in the offseason trade of R.A. Dickey, had struggled since taking over the everyday duties behind the plate in mid-August. He entered Sunday's game just 11-for-72 and was struggling to get on base.

He started Sunday's game 0-for-3 before singling in the 11th inning. In the 12th, with the teams scoreless, he came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. The Mets had loaded the bases with no outs but came up empty in the previous two at-bats, leaving it to d'Arnaud to save them.

On a 1-1 pitch, he hit a 95 mph sinker from Ryan Webb up the middle, and the ball got through the middle for the winning hit. D'Arnaud was mobbed between first and second base by his teammates before getting the pie to the face.

Mets manager Terry Collins said he hopes this hit gets d'Arnaud rolling at the plate. D'Arnaud finished 2-for-5 and collected his fourth career RBI with the walk-off single.

"He came with a huge reputation of being an outstanding hitter and has really struggled. This has got to help him," Collins said. "This has got to loosen him up and help him be the kind of guy everybody says he can be. We're so impressed with him defensively. We got to get it offensively, and I think today's a big start for him."

He added: "He's going to hit. We know that."

As he struggled at the plate, d'Arnaud kept a positive outlook, working hard with hitting coach Dave Hudgens to try to find his stroke. Collins noted how he never saw d'Arnaud's demeanor change despite him not producing through his first month in the majors. He called d'Arnaud a good student of the game, pointing out how the youngster had watched David Wright work in the cage.

D'Arnaud praised his teammates for being in his corner throughout his struggles, and recalled a bit of advice they gave him that ultimately came true Sunday.

"Fortunately for me my team's been there and had my back and told me to keep grinding and they'll start falling," D'Arnaud said. "Today, that's what happened."

Rapid Reaction: Mets 1, Marlins 0 (12)

September, 15, 2013
NEW YORK -- Travis d'Arnaud finally had a reason to smile.

D'Arnaud hit a walk-off single to power the Mets to a 1-0 win over the Marlins in 12 innings on Sunday at Citi Field.

D'Arnaud has been struggling at the plate this season, but he came up with his first career walk-off on Sunday.

Almost blew it: The Mets had the bases loaded with no outs in the 12th, but Zach Lutz and Andrew Brown each grounded into a fielder's choice as the lead runner was forced out at home. D'Arnaud then had the walk-off single.

G force: Dillon Gee pitched another great game on Sunday as he handled the Marlins with ease. He worked out of his biggest jam in the second inning, when the Marlins had a runner on third with one out, by striking out the next two batters. Gee gave up six hits over 7 1/3 innings while striking out eight. The no-decision left him at 11-10 on the season.

Rough inning for Murphy: The ninth inning was not kind to Daniel Murphy, as he committed a pair of errors. He made an errant throw to first base, and later failed to field a throw. He did, however, have a nice play to get the lead runner at third base for the first out of the inning. Closer LaTroy Hawkins worked around Murphy's blunders.

He was 3-10: The Mets managed just three hits in eight innings against Tom Koehler, and did not get their first runner into scoring position until there were two outs in the sixth inning. Koehler entered the game 3-10 with a 4.80 ERA, but he's had success against the Mets this year. He's now 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four games (three starts) against them.

Nice play: D'Arnaud had a nice throw to catch Justin Ruggiano trying to steal third in the sixth inning. It was not a smart play by Ruggiano as there were two outs and the batter, Logan Morrison, already had a triple. Murphy returned the favor in the seventh by getting picked off first base.

Effective: Gonzalez Germen struck out five batters in two innings of relief work. He gave up one hit.

Up next: The Mets have an off day before welcoming the Giants to town for a three-game set. Zack Wheeler (7-5, 3.22 ERA) faces Yusmeiro Petit (3-0, 2.53) at 7:10 p.m.

D'Arnaud struggling at plate, not behind it

September, 13, 2013
NEW YORK -- It was another tough day at the plate for rookie catcher Travis d'Arnaud.

The Mets won -- so that made it a little easier -- but there's no hiding the struggles of the highly touted prospect.

After an 0-for-3 performance, d'Arnaud has only three hits in his 33 September plate appearances.

[+] EnlargeTravis d'Arnaud
Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsTravis d'Arnaud's catching has been better than his hitting so far in his brief MLB tenure.
"I have been [taking more batting practice]," d'Arnaud said. "Me and [Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens] have been working hard trying to get a consistent swing and everything consistent and the same."

D'Arnaud concedes his struggles stem from both mental and physical issues. But he did hit a shot to right field that sent Giancarlo Stanton back to the warning track, giving d'Arnaud the feeling that he's getting close to a breakout game.

"I'm just trying to hit the ball hard," d'Arnaud said. "Today, I hit that one to right field that was hit pretty well. As long as I stay right there, they'll start falling eventually. I just try to keep my mind at ease and keep it simple."

D'Arnaud was a key piece in the offseason trade that sent R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays. The catcher suffered a setback with a broken foot earlier in the year but came back to hit .306 in 18 games at Triple-A.

After being called up in mid-August, d'Arnaud took hold of the everyday duties from starting catcher John Buck, who was eventually shipped to the Pirates.

D'Arnaud hasn't been able to replicate his minor league success yet at the big league level, but his teammates aren't concerned.

"We've had very little offensive conversations for him because I know he can hit," backup catcher Anthony Recker said. "I've seen him [in] spring training, I've seen him swing it in BP, he's got a great swing. He's going to do really well in this league. It's a matter of him settling down and getting comfortable and feeling comfortable and that takes time."

One thing d'Arnaud has been feeling comfortable with is his game management behind the plate. His coaches and teammates have given positive feedback on his ability to learn the pitching staff and call a smart game.

"I love the way he approaches the game," Recker said. "He's willing to learn what the pitchers want to do and I've seen him studying the opposing hitters so he knows what he's doing there. And then it's a matter of getting the experience and getting the action."

For d'Arnaud, catching has come more easily than hitting.

"Some guys get here and they struggle at first because you put pressure on yourself as a player, just as someone who wants to do well," Recker said. "So that can make it tough. And then you feel like you have to battle out of that, you have to do more and more.

"He's going to do fine. He'll string together a few good games and all of the sudden things are going to turn like that."

John Buck OK as backup

August, 20, 2013
NEW YORK -- Veteran Mets catcher John Buck understands the team making top prospect Travis d'Arnaud the starter while relegating him to a backup role.

"It's not my first year around so I figured that obviously playing time would be lessened, but it's kind of the nature of the beast," Buck said Tuesday after returning from paternity leave. "You've got your top prospect up, you're not gonna let him just sit there, so I understand that."

Buck had been the Mets' starting catcher all year, but that has changed with d'Arnaud's arrival. D'Arnaud was expected to challenge Buck for the starting role earlier this season, but broke the first metatarsal in his left foot, delaying his debut.

D'Arnaud debuted Saturday as Buck went on paternity leave as his wife, Brooke, delivered the couple's third boy, Bentley Ryan. Buck hopped on a red-eye flight in San Diego, arriving in New York around 6 a.m., and the baby was delivered at 9:42 a.m.

"Kind of funny, I walked in and all the nurses are like, 'Yeah, you made it' and I'm like 'So I'm good?' They're like, 'Yeah, she's in there.'" Buck said. "So I had a whole hospital rooting for me to get there. That was kind of fun."

Buck, who is a free agent after the season, hasn't been told how much playing time he will receive, although manager Terry Collins said he'll have a big role. Buck plans to help d'Arnaud by answering any questions the youngster might have, passing along knowledge he's learned during his 10-year career. Buck praised d'Arnaud for having a great attitude and wanting to learn and get better.

Mets manager Terry Collins, who said he's already planned out approximately the next two weeks' catching schedule, complimented Buck for handling the demotion with class. He added that he knows that Buck wants to play more.

"John Buck's not at the end of his career, by any means or stretch of the imagination. Don't think this is John Buck being the coach. This is John Buck being a professional and trying to help one of his teammates get better, as he would with Anthony Recker, as he's done with anybody else that would be up here," Collins said. "I told him, 'you got to get ready to play each and every day. We'll ask your input in a lot of pregame stuff to get Travis ready to catch our staff and get ready for the opposition. He knows this division better than anybody. He's been in it for three years. His knowledge is going to be used to the max but by no means is he just another guy who's going to coach Travis d'Arnaud to be better. He's here to be a teammate and when he's in that lineup to produce."

D'Arnaud will have the final 39 games to showcase his skills to the Mets, and attempt to prove that he should be the Opening Day starter next year.

"We're going to see the everyday regular lineups of guys that are still competing for something," Collins said. "We should get a nice sampling of whether or not we think Travis is going to be able to handle it."

Morning Briefing: Byrd migration to Texas?

July, 25, 2013

FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler, who tossed six scoreless innings in his major league debut at Turner Field in Atlanta, albeit with five walks, gets another crack at the Braves in an early start this afternoon.

Wheeler (3-1, 3.58 ERA) opposes rookie left-hander Alex Wood (0-2, 2.45) as the Mets look to salvage a split of the four-game series. First pitch: 12:10 p.m.

Tom Lynn/Getty ImagesZack Wheeler pitches on turn, despite recently dealing with a blister issue.

The Mets earlier this week debated delaying Wheeler’s start a day to allow a blister to further heal, but ultimately decided it was a nonissue and kept him on regular rest. Wheeler has dealt with blister issues throughout his pro career -- both as a San Francisco Giants farmhand and with the Mets.

Wood steps in for fellow southpaw Paul Maholm, who landed on the disabled list on the eve of the series with a bruised wrist.

With the Mets facing a left-hander, Josh Satin should start at first base and Juan Lagares in center field. Justin Turner also is due for his first start since returning from the disabled list.

Terry Collins planned for Turner to be used at a middle-infield position, but Turner might start at third base if David Wright needs a day for a sore back/neck. Wright inadvertently hit himself with the shattered bat during his own swing in the fourth inning Wednesday night.

Thursday’s news reports:

• The Texas Rangers are scouting Marlon Byrd among a bevy of outfield options, writes Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox appears Texas’ primary target, according to the report. Writes Jon Heyman:

Ideally, Texas would have loved to make a run at young Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton, Hunter Pence (a local, being a U-T Arlington product) or perhaps Michael Cuddyer, but with those three apparently unavailable at the moment, the Rangers are surveying a market that's heavy on far lesser talents. Pence would seem to have the best chance to be traded of those three, and Texas would target him if he becomes free. Nolan Ryan is said to be a fan.

Seattle, which has Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse, isn't ready to trade anybody yet. And most believe they'll ultimately keep at least Ibanez and Morales now that they are showing decent signs of life. …

The Rangers reportedly have looked at Norichika Aoki, as well, and Danny Knobler reported they are scouting Marlon Byrd, their former player. Other outfielders who could go in trades include Justin Ruggiano, Chris Denorfia, Nate Schierholtz and Alejandro De Aza.

• Tim Hudson suffered a gruesome fracture of his right ankle when he was stepped on while covering first base by runner Eric Young Jr. on Wednesday night. Hudson had taken a scoreless effort into the eighth inning when the injury occurred.

“I saw them get tangled up,” Dan Uggla told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I was just hoping he Charley-horsed him or something. I didn’t see the extent of it. Once I saw Huddy’s reaction, I was like, ‘Oh, no. This isn’t good.’ …

“He was kind of in disbelief, obviously in a lot of pain. You could see just the thoughts going through his head, ‘This can’t be happening. … This is unbelievable.’ That sort of thing. I know he was in a lot of pain.”

Young expressed remorse for what happened.

"I'm hustling down the line like I always do, going for the base," Young said. "I saw his foot, as I'm going for the base, right there in the middle, as I came down, I knew I didn't get any of the base. I know I got all of his foot. I pretty much knew it was probably broke right as I did it, and that's why I sprinted right back to him and tried to console him as much as I could and apologize.

"I was able to see Tim before they took him to the hospital. He told me it wasn't my fault, just one of those freak plays that happened."

Read more on the injury and reaction in the Post and Daily News.

Evan Gattis, Uggla and Andrelton Simmons all homered against Jeremy Hefner as the Braves beat the Mets, 8-2 at Citi Field. Hefner surrendered six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings. He became the first Mets pitcher to allow three homers in a home game this season. Hefner has allowed 13 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings over his past two starts. Daniel Murphy had two doubles, but also committed two errors.

Columnist John Harper in the Daily News summarizes the night.

Read game recaps in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and

• Read more on Wright’s status after getting struck with his own bat in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud returned to game action for the first time Wednesday, in the same Gulf Coast League game. D’Arnaud went 1-for-3 and caught five innings in his first official action since fracturing the first metatarsal in his left foot on April 17 with Triple-A Las Vegas.

Duda, who landed on the DL with an intercostal muscle strain on his left side after a June 21 game, went 0-for-2 with a walk. He played five innings in left field. It would have been far more noteworthy because of the implications for Ike Davis if Duda had played first base, but that was not the case. Read more in the Post.

Jonathon Niese, on the DL with a shoulder issue, is ready to pitch in a Gulf Coast League game this weekend or shortly thereafter. He likely will need multiple rehab starts before returning, so rejoining the Mets in mid-August is most likely. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Jenrry Mejia joined the Mets in advance of Friday’s start opposite Jordan Zimmermann in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Nationals Park. Matt Harvey opposes Ross Ohlendorf in the nightcap that day. The other matchups that series: Dillon Gee versus Dan Haren on Saturday and Carlos Torres versus Taylor Jordan on Sunday.

Adam RubinThe San Francisco Giants annually host a sleepover for fans on the night of a day game at AT&T Park.

Mejia told Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger that he has bone spurs in his right elbow that will need to be surgically removed during the offseason. Doctors proposed removing them during spring training when the issue first flared up, but Mejia preferred taking anti-inflammatory medication to get through the discomfort and to deal with it after the season. Read more in the Journal and Record.

• Matching an event annually staged at San Francisco’s A&T Park, the Mets will host a sleepover for fans at Citi Field on Aug. 10. Unlike with the Giants, it will not occur the night of a home day game. Tickets, which range $175-$200 per person and include admission to the Sept. 28 game against the Milwaukee Brewers, go on sale at 10 a.m. today at The Mets also announced PR man Jay Horwitz bobblehead day will be held Aug. 23. There’s also a Third Eye Blind concert after that game against the Detroit Tigers.

• Columnist Larry Brooks in the Post suggests the Mets are laying the groundwork for a brighter future.

• Mark Cohoon became the all-time innings-pitched leader in Binghamton history and closer Jeff Walters matched Jerrod Riggan’s B-Mets single-season record with save No. 28 in a 6-3 win against Reading. Read the minor league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Billy Wagner, now spending time with his alpacas, turns 42. … Where’s Mota? Guillermo Mota is celebrating his 40th birthday.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets hold onto Marlon Byrd unless overwhelmed by a trade offer?

Zack in Atlanta all but confirmed; Murph 1B

June, 10, 2013
NEW YORK -- As has been reported, Sandy Alderson on WFAN all but acknowledged Zack Wheeler will make his major league debut during the June 18 doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves, 30 miles from his Dallas, Ga., hometown.

Collins indicated on Sunday that Matt Harvey would get the night game of that split doubleheader.


Daniel Murphy appears the primary candidate to play first base with Ike Davis at Las Vegas. That will allow the Mets to get at least a short-term look at Jordany Valdespin at second base. Josh Satin should also get limited time at first base. Alderson confirmed Lucas Duda moving from left field is a distant third in the way of options.

Murphy has started 150 major league games at first base.

• Travis d'Arnaud, recovering from a broken left foot, has shed his boot. But d'Arnaud will not be allowed to run for two more weeks. Alderson implied d'Arnaud "certainly" would get a call-up for September, but did not strongly indicate he would reach the Mets before rosters expand.

Collin Cowgill, while getting a promotion, will not be a primary outfielder. The Mets would have liked to promote a lefty bat, but had none available at Triple-A. The Mets also were averse to promoting righty-hitting Andrew Brown because he just returned Friday from an oblique injury.



Daniel Murphy
.295 9 55 76
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .832
WB. Colon 14
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180