NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With their lineup seriously lacking in the run-producing department as it is, the Mets can ill-afford to get nothing from Travis d’Arnaud.
Yet, they are.
The question is why? Mets manager Terry Collins seems to see his young catcher’s 0-for-15 start to the season as more of a mental thing.
“He came into the season as an integral part of the defense and the offense. His spot in the lineup, we’ve got to get some production out of it. He’s got to battle through it. There are no easy answers,’’ Collins told the NY Post following Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Cincinnati.
The franchise record for most hitless at-bats to start a season is 26, by Phil Linz back in 1968. D’Arnaud has but two walks and one run scored to show for his first five games.
“I feel good, just having that short swing and keeping my eye on the ball. They’ll start falling eventually,’’ d’Arnaud said. “I still feel pretty confident. Slowing everything down. That’s what I’ve been doing these past couple days, and I hit a few line drives, so it’s been working out.’’
Collins said while it’s a lot easier to let a veteran player work his way out of a slump, he cannot afford to take that same kind of approach with d’Arnaud, who his .202 with 1 home run in 99 at-bats last season. He said, mentally, he can tell the lack of hits is starting to do a number on his 25-year-old backstop’s mind.
“We’ve had numerous discussions just to make sure he keeps his head up and continues to battle, which he will,” Collins said. “He’s a competitive guy. We’ve been happy with the way he’s caught. We just want him to relax at the plate and get it going.
“Certainly Travis is getting more frustrated, because when you talk to him you can tell. But he’s got great confidence that he can get going,” Collins added.
Part of the problem could be that d’Arnaud simply needs a ton of work. An assortment of injuries have limited him to just 104 games since the start of 2012.
Mets captain David Wright said he expects d’Arnaud to turn things around sooner rather than later, but added in the interim the young catcher is doing a fine job handling the pitching staff.
“He’ll be fine. He can hit,” Wright said. “He’s hit at every level. He’s off to a slow start [but] he’s caught very well, he’s thrown some runners out, he’s called good games.
“Defensively he’s done everything we’ve asked him, and offensively he’ll come around. His track record says he’s going to hit,’’ Wright added.
The Mets looked simply awful during their season-opening sweep at the hands of Washington, but bounced back a bit against Cincinnati, winning two of three.
New York, which had Monday off, is set to open a three-game series at Atlanta on Tuesday.
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