Just two months ago, Travis d’Arnaud was unemployed after being designated for assignment by the New York Mets and looking like a long line of injuries had finally gotten to him after undergoing Tommy John surgery a year earlier.
On Monday, playing for his third team of the season, he was the bane of the New York Yankees’ existence.
Travis d’Arnaud makes homer history as a catcher
On the road against the first-place Yankees, d’Arnaud was penciled in as the Tampa Bay Rays’ leadoff hitter.
It’s not every day you see a catcher hit leadoff. Only d’Arnaud and two other players, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Yasmani Grandal and the Minnesota Twins’ Mitch Garver, have done it multiple times this year.
Even rarer is the leadoff catcher who hits home runs. Since 1908, only 11 catchers in all of MLB had hit multiple home runs out of the leadoff spot entering Monday. D’Arnaud joined that group and then some against the Yankees.
D’Arnaud went deep three times at Yankee Stadium, driving in all five runs for the Rays. His final hit was a three-run homer that gave the Rays a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth inning.
The performance made an interesting piece of history.
Travis d'Arnaud is the first catcher since Baseball Reference data is available (1908) with a 3-HR game out of the leadoff spot (regular season or postseason).
— Rays Communications (@RaysPR) July 16, 2019
In just one game, d’Arnaud improved his slugging percentage for the season from .401 to .471.
Pretty good for a player who was designated for assignment in April by the Mets after hitting .087/.160/.087 in 25 plate appearances to begin the season, then signed for the MLB minimum with the Los Angeles Dodgers and got traded five days later to the Rays for cash.
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