Mets activate Travis d'Arnaud, demote Kevin Plawecki

ByAdam Rubin ESPN logo
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

NEW YORK -- The Mets activated catcher Travis d'Arnaud from the disabled list before Tuesday's series opener against the Kansas City Royals.

Kevin Plawecki was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas, with veteran Rene Rivera sticking in the majors as the backup catcher.

The oft-injured d'Arnaud landed on the disabled list April 26 with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder. He hit .196 with one RBI in 46 at-bats before the injury. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Royals.

"It's hard to put the entire onus on one player, but getting Travis back from an offensive standpoint has a chance to be a real plus for us," general manager Sandy Alderson said before the game.

Still, manager Terry Collins downplayed expectations for d'Arnaud reviving a slumping Mets offense.

"If I thought he was the answer, I certainly wouldn't be hitting him eighth," Collins said before the game. "Hopefully he just does what he normally does."

The Mets had considered having Plawecki, 25, open the season in the minors to ensure he would get regular at-bats, but team officials did not feel they had a capable backup alternative at the time. They signed Rivera as a free agent on April 5, after his release from the Tampa Bay Rays. Rivera joined the major league club once d'Arnaud landed on the DL three weeks later.

Although Rivera has a .190 average with two homers and 10 RBIs in 58 at-bats, Mets pitchers have responded well with him behind the plate. He has thrown out 36.4 percent of would-be base stealers (8 of 22) while catching a staff that is poor at holding runners. Mets pitchers have a 2.57 ERA with him behind the plate.

The 25-year-old Plawecki has struggled this season and had ceded playing time to Rivera. Plawecki was hitting .194 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 124 at-bats. He had thrown out 24.4 percent of would-be base stealers (10 of 41).

Plawecki currently has one year and 54 days of MLB service time. If the Mets keep him in the minors for at least a month, they should avoid him reaching arbitration a year early as a Super 2 player after the 2017 season.

"Kevin's the prospect out in the bunch coming out of the minor leagues for us," Collins said. "He was a high pick for us. Those guys have to play. As I told Kevin today, I thought he was the perfect backup. I actually probably made a mistake in spring training. He probably should have gone [to Las Vegas] and played every day. If you're going to get better, you've got to get reps. He sat, didn't play a lot until he was forced into the lineup. And then we needed him to step up. I think it was unfair to ask him to be able to do that with the amount of games that he had played."

Also before Tuesday's game, the Mets placed right-handed reliever Jim Henderson on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis. Left-hander Sean Gilmartin was promoted from Las Vegas. Henderson departed Saturday's game against the Atlanta Braves with his fastball registering only 90 to 91 mph.

Gilmartin will not be available to work out of the bullpen for a couple of days because he threw 100 pitches in a start for Las Vegas on Saturday.

As for placing Henderson on the DL, Collins added: "We were concerned about his shoulder, certainly. The tendinitis is in there. You never know how long it takes to get the tendinitis out. So we just thought we'd protect ourselves and let him rest that shoulder anyway, because he threw the ball so well early that we don't want to push it too much."

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