The New York Mets went to great lengths on Wednesday night to make sure an out-of-position catcher wasn’t exposed during an emergency start at third base.
Travis d’Arnaud, who serves as the Mets everyday catcher, was forced to start at the hot corner when starting infielders Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores were scratched due to injury. That set off a chain of events that saw d’Arnaud swap between third and second base with the more comfortable and capable Asdrubal Cabrera 22 times during the course of their 5-3 loss to the Yankees.
Anyone who thinks official scorers have it easy might want to rethink that.
The goal of manager Terry Collins was obvious. He wanted to position d’Arnaud so he wouldn’t be forced to field his position. Yes, d’Arnaud is a big leaguer, but he’s been locked in as a catcher for basically his entire professional career. The last time he started at a defensive position other than catcher was 2012 when he started two games at first base, so it’s understandable why Collins would prefer to hide him.
The method Collins used was to rotate d’Arnaud and Cabrera based on which side of the plate the batter hit from. To be honest, the strategy worked out pretty well. Cabrera ended up handling all five of his chances between second and third. On the flip side, it wasn’t until the ninth inning that d’Arnaud was involved in a defensive play, and that came on a harmless popup from Todd Frazier.
The veteran catcher has handled his share of those behind the plate, but always with a catcher’s mitt. He had to adjust to using an infielder’s glove on this occasion. Fortunately, he had the right teammate in David Wright. The Mets captain not only gave d’Arnaud a few pointers, he actually let him borrow his glove.
Baseball players don’t let just anyone borrow their glove you know. This is kind of a big deal.
It’s also the latest in a string of bizarre moments that have pretty much defined the Mets season. Between the seemingly never-ending string of injuries, the clubhouse prank gone wrong, and Mr. Met going rogue, the Mets season has had it all. Now we can add this odd but entertaining fiasco to that mind-boggling list.
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