After injuries to Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki, the Mets weren’t expecting much offense from their makeshift catching arrangement — and that is exactly what they are receiving.
Even before the injuries, the numbers were paltry, with the d’Arnaud-Plawecki tandem going 6-for-35 with four RBIs. Replacements Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton entered Monday night’s game at 1-for-9 with no RBIs. The four catchers were a combined 7-for-44 (.159).
Yet the Mets keep winning, so there appears to be no urgency in remedying the situation.
General manager Sandy Alderson said last Friday that he anticipated the current arrangement to be “for the very short term,’’ and when he was asked how long, quipped “until about 11 o’clock [that night].’’
Mickey Callaway’s main concern is making sure that Lobaton, 33, who was called up from Triple-A, and Nido, 24, who was promoted from Double-A, can defend and handle the pitchers.
“You just have to make sure that they’re doing the job behind the plate,’’ he said Sunday. “I think to expect offense is something that you can’t expect. So go out there and make sure that you get the best out of the situation. And that’s calling a good game, being more prepared than ever to go out there and make sure our pitchers get through the game well.”
D’Arnaud (Tommy John surgery) is out for the season and, after a plethora of injuries and unrealized expectations, his future with the Mets appears uncertain. Plawecki, who until this season always profiled as a major league backup, is expected back in a few weeks after suffering a hairline fracture in his left hand.
If the Mets do nothing before then, Plawecki presumably will become the everyday catcher and Lobaton, given his experience, likely will be the backup.
The Venzuela-born Lobaton played the last four seasons as a reserve for the rival Nationals.
“The offseason, we don’t really think about who’s the enemy, who’s not,’’ he said of signing with the Mets. “I was available. they give me the offer. It was my best option. It was a good feeling. I know about Washington in New York and now I have the feeling from the other side.’’
Lobaton has a .218 lifetime average in nine seasons.
“I know what I can do defensively,’’ Lobaton said. “I can call pitches and I can frame pitches and I can block. I just need to hit. That’s been my goal. I want to be a better hitter. But my first goal every time I’m playing is defense. I feel like the second part of me is hitting. If in the end I didn’t get a hit but we win, I’m happy.’’
Entering Monday, his one hit was a triple.
Lobaton was not expecting to make it back to the majors this quickly. “I got a call one [day] and I was surprised. I said, ‘Well, that’s kind of early,’ ’’ he said. “I didn’t know what happened. I don’t really follow too much baseball. Friends told me like ‘Hey, this guy got hurt.’ Then I heard that Paw got hurt, too, and I figured out I would be the next step.’’
Of course, Lobaton’s status can change at any moment if the Mets make a deal.
“I don’t try to think about something that may happen,’’ he said. “I like to live my life every day. Right now I’m still here. That is not my decision. They do what they think is best for the team. Whatever they think is the best, we take it. I’m here if they need me.’’