On Monday night, less than a day after suffering a fractured finger after being hit on the hand, Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud took his (temporary) replacement Kevin Plawecki out to dinner. Yesterday, d'Arnaud sat in on Plawecki's batting practice and raced to the top step of the dugout after his first at-bat. It's small and easily missed, but the Mets are all rooting for each other.
When d'Arnaud was demoted to Triple-A after struggling to get on base last year, I was among those calling for Anthony Recker to get a shot behind the plate. I wanted a catcher who had proven himself able to throw to second base without the ball skipping into the outfield. Looking back, I was probably hasty in my mistrust of d'Arnaud (okay, I was definitely hasty). He was supposed to be the future of the Mets and I watched that fall apart in front of my eyes. A year later, he finally looks like the catcher we all wanted him to be. Then he got hurt and Plawecki, a first-round draft pick, got the call.
But instead of resenting the 24-year-old, d'Arnaud has taken it upon himself to show Plawecki what the big leagues are all about. d'Arnaud could easily make it difficult for his replacement to upstage him (I'm not talking about masked men in an alley difficult, but people play mind games), but he wants him to succeed. d'Arnaud wants the Mets to succeed and that means, for at least the next three weeks, Plawecki needs to succeed. too.
"To show what kind of guy Travis is, he was one of the first texts I got when I got the news I was coming up here," Plawecki told the NY Post. "He just told me that I was ready and to just play my game and trust myself. [At dinner] we went over a few things already. So he's definitely going to be here to help me. I appreciate that."
Last year, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda were fighting it out for possession of first base. This year, even with the climbing number of injuries plaguing the Mets, there's no fighting in the dugout or in the clubhouse. The entire team, together, is fighting for the same goal: the next win.