LAKELAND, FL — Kevin Plawecki is apparently earning a lot more playing time with his play this spring. The catcher who has backed up Travis d’Arnaud has impressed the new staff enough that Mickey Callaway sees him getting a lot of the starts when they are facing right-handed pitchers this season.
“With the way our catchers are, the way they hit, we’re going be able to cover opposing pitchers pretty good. Obviously d’Arnaud is really good against lefties and I feel like Plawecki hangs in there really good against tough righties,” the new Mets manager said. “So I think we’ll base whose catching more on that type stuff, (rather) than who (pitchers) prefer to throw to.”
Plawecki homered Friday off Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer and guided Steven Matz through his best start of spring. Plawecki is hitting .333 with two doubles, a home run and six RBI in nine games this spring.
D’Arnaud is a career .250 hitters against lefties, but hit .302 against southpaws last season. Plawecki has hit .194 against lefties in his career and hit .270 against right-handed pitching last season.
Last season, d’Arnaud, 29, started 88 games because of a hand injury and splitting time with veteran backup Rene Rivera. Plawecki started 24 games.
From the sounds of it, he is looking at a lot more time next season.
“I don’t really know how to take it. I think it’s going to depend how things are kind of going they will be the ones who kind of determine day to day who is back there, so we’re just continue to go out there and have fun, keep putting quality at-bats together,” Plawecki said.”That’s all I can do, focus on and control.”
Amed Rosario grounded out in two at-bats as the designated hitter Friday and is expecting to play three innings at shortstop on Saturday. It was the first time back in the lineup for the 22-year old since injuring his left leg last weekend.
He ran a little gingerly to first on both groundouts, but said it was more precaution.
“I have a little scare, but on the second ground ball I am running more fast and I am feeling good,” Rosario said. “No problem.”
Rosario missed five games after leaving a game what he said was a tight left knee Saturday. He then said his groin/hamstring area was sore.
“I am feeling good, perfect right now,” Rosario said.
SMITH STILL SITTING
Dominic Smith, who played one game before straining his right quad, is going to have a hard time making the major league roster. The Mets were planning to send him to Triple-A unless he had a strong spring competition against Adrian Gonzalez, the veteran All-Star they brought in as insurance.
But, now Smith is running out of time to make an impression and could be impacting if he is even ready for Opening Day.
“I don’t know you can ever say impossible, but it’s going to be tough, it’s tough,” Callaway said.
The Triple-A season starts a week after the big league season, so that gives him more time.
ROBLES ROUGH RESULTS
Hansel Robles has likely pitched his way out of the Mets bullpen. Last season, the Mets lost patience with the hard-throwing right hander and sent him to Triple-A midseason. After pitching to a 13.50 ERA in five appearances this spring, Robles is looking at starting the season back there — even though the Mets are looking to carry eight relievers.
Robles got knocked around Friday, allowing four earned runs on five hits (two home runs) in one inning. He has allowed nine earned runs in six innings pitched this spring.
“He’s just a little flat and leaving the ball up a little bit,” Callaway said. “He’s got to go out there and get ahead and establish he can throw his secondary pitch for a strike and bury it when he wants to, so he doesn’t get pigeonholed in those fastball counts where guys are hurting him.”
Callaway said they are trying to quicken Robles’ delivery and get him to repeat it consistently.
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