Mets’ Plawecki has broken hand; d’Arnaud needs surgery
NEW YORK (AP) — Mets catchers can’t avoid catching a break. Or a tear.
Catcher Kevin Plawecki will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with a broken left hand and went on the disabled list Friday as New York announced Travis d’Arnaud will have season-ending Tommy John surgery.
With the injuries to their top two catchers, the Mets’ options behind the plate are 33-year-old Jose Lobaton, who hit .170 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 51 games as a backup with Washington last year, and 24-year-old Tomas Nido, who was recalled from Double-A Binghamton on Wednesday and has six games of major league experience.
“I think we’re comfortable for the very short term. We’ll see how things go,” New York general manager Sandy Alderson said. “We are going to be certainly aware of what else may available out there, and we’ll monitor that market. But at this moment, we don’t have any plans to add anyone other than at the Triple-A level. But that certainly could change.”
Miguel Montero was designated for assignment by the Nationals on Wednesday, and Geovany Soto remains a free agent.
New York’s slogan could very well be “Get well soon!” the last few years. Still, the Mets returned home with an eight-game winning streak and a 10-1 start, the best in franchise history.
“I think it’s going to be a test,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “We’re going to have to have guys step up.”
Teams usually are reluctant to trade starters this early in the season, but the increase in rebuilding clubs — some call them tanking teams — could change the dynamics.
“I think that as we’ve noted in baseball over the offseason and early in the season, there are some teams that probably aren’t trying that hard, so I’m not sure the calendar is even relevant in those cases,” Alderson said.
On the disabled list for the fifth straight season, the 29-year-old d’Arnaud was 3 for 15 (.200) with one homer and three RBIs in four games this year. He felt tightness in his right elbow during pregame drills in Miami this week and was sent to New York for an MRI that revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
“I didn’t say a word for about a minute. I couldn’t believe,” he said.
Because of the location of the tear, d’Arnaud said it was unlikely to heal without surgery. Callaway said it is not clear whether d’Arnaud will be back to 100 percent by the start of spring training next February.
Plawecki was hit by a pitch from the Marlins’ Tayron Guerrero at Miami in the eighth inning Wednesday night. While a postgame X-ray was negative, an MRI in New York on Thursday showed a hairline fracture.
His return date will be determined by the return of grip strength and pain tolerance.
“I’d like to think the opportunity isn’t going away,” Plawecki said. “It’s only a couple of weeks out of a very long season.”
Plawecki went on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Thursday, and D’Arnaud was transferred to the 60-day DL, a move that opened a roster spot for the Mets to select Lobaton’s contract from Triple-A Las Vegas. The Mets also recalled outfielder Brandon Nimmo from Las Vegas and optioned right-hander Jacob Rhame to the 51s.
Lobaton, a switch-hitter, batted 5 for 18 (.278) with two homers in nine postseason games last year. He was with the Mets during spring training and had been waiting for an opportunity.
“For me, it’s big,” Lobaton said.
Callaway wouldn’t commit to making Lobaton or Nido the regular starter. Nido hit .232 with eight homers and 60 RBIs last year at Double-A.
“I think we have a great deal of confidence in his ability to catch and throw,” Alderson said. “The question is whether he’s ready to hit at the major league level.”
NOTES: LHP Jason Vargas (broken bone in right hand) pitched a simulated game Thursday in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and probably will have another simulated outing before a likely minor league rehabilitation start.
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