Travis d'Arnaud doubles, moves well in minor-league game

Travis_D'Arnaud looks on during a spring training workout Travis_D'Arnaud looks on during a spring training workout at Tradition Field. (Feb. 13, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Mets prospect Travis d'Arnaud went 1-for-3 with a two-run double and a walk in a Gulf Coast League game Thursday, but the play that should give him the most hope did not appear in the boxscore.

In the bottom of the first inning, d'Arnaud -- whom the Mets expect to be their catcher of the future -- tore off his mask and chased a foul pop with impressive quickness.

The ball landed beyond the fence, but the play supported d'Arnaud's assertion that his once-broken left foot now is a non-issue.

"It feels great -- normal," said d'Arnaud, who went on the Triple-A disabled list when he fouled a pitch off the foot April 17. "I'm ready to play."

Just how ready he is to play for the big-league Mets, as opposed to the Gulf Coast version, remains to be seen.

This was only his second game back, and the rust showed at times. He sailed a pickoff throw over the head of first baseman Dominic Smith, the Mets' 2013 first-round pick, for a sixth-inning error.

"He tried to overthrow, tried to do too much," manager Jose Carreno said. "But I'd rather see that type of aggressive mistake [than being passive]."

D'Arnaud, who hit .333 with 16 homers in 67 Triple-A games last season, might be expected to dominate at this level of the minors, which is designed primarily for first-year pros. But Thursday's starting pitcher for the Marlins was Brad Hand, who has major-league experience and -- like d'Arnaud -- was in Jupiter on a rehab assignment.

D'Arnaud popped out to first base in the first inning. He then walked on a full-count pitch that was just a touch outside.

With the bases loaded and none out in the sixth, d'Arnaud pulled a 1-and-2 pitch from Edward Cruz down the third-base line for a two-run double. The play originally was ruled an error -- the third baseman came up empty on a backhand attempt -- but later was changed.

"I was thankful it was a hit," said d'Arnaud, who flied out in his final at-bat. "It was hit hard."

D'Arnaud said he's not sure when the Mets plan to promote him. He said he was "honored" to be included in the Mets' offseason trade that sent National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto.

When the subject turned to the Mets' young pitching talent, d'Arnaud became more animated. He labeled Zack Wheeler's stuff "electric,'' called Matt Harvey "intimidating" and spoke highly of minor-leaguers Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard.

"You see what's coming and what they already have, it's an amazing feeling," d'Arnaud said. "I can't wait."

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