LAKELAND, Fla. — The Mets’ timeshare at catcher could become a more traditional platoon, which might make Kevin Plawecki the de facto starter.
Manager Mickey Callaway said Friday that when it comes to deciding between Travis d’Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki to start a given game, it could be based on the arm of that day’s opposing starting pitcher.
Plawecki hits righthanders well, as Callaway pointed out, but lefthanders not so much. D’Arnaud, meanwhile, excelled against lefties last season but struggled against righties.
With most starting pitchers around the league being righthanded, that could lead to Plawecki getting the bulk of the playing time come regular season.
“We have some tough decisions to make,” Callaway said, noting that he does not want to fall into a routine of d’Arnaud catching certain pitchers and Plawecki catcher the others. “With the way our catchers are and the way they hit, we’re going to be able to cover opposing pitchers pretty good.
“Obviously d’Arnaud hits really good against lefties. I feel like Plawecki hangs in there really good against good righties. I think we’ll base who is catching more on that type of stuff than who [starters] prefer to throw to.”
Plawecki’s abilities against righties has been on display in recent days. On Thursday, he doubled against the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg, a three-time All-Star. On Friday, he homered against the Tigers’ Michael Fulmer, the AL Rookie of the Year in 2016 and an All-Star in 2017. Plawecki is hitting .333 with a .611 slugging percentage in nine spring games.
Plawecki never has consistently hit in parts of three major-league seasons, but finished strong last year (.303/.411/.474 in 27 games from August 19 to the end of the season) and said he feels like he picked up this spring where he left off last fall in terms of comfort at the plate.
“I’m just trying to go out there and have fun and have good at-bats. I’m just excited for the season,” he said. “Whatever hard decisions or anything like that, I’ll let them handle that and I’ll just continue to go out there and keep having fun.”
Shortstop Amed Rosario went 0-for-2 in his first game action since Saturday, his left knee and groin issues having subsided. He twice grounded out to third base and didn’t exactly bust it down the first-base line.
“He felt great,” Callaway said. “He probably wasn’t running quite as hard as he normally would, just young kid making sure he’s healthy. He came out fine.”
Said Rosario: “On the second ground ball, I was running more fast and I’m feeling good. No problem.”
Rosario is scheduled to play shortstop for three innings Saturday in Tampa against the Yankees.
Righthander Hansel Robles allowed hits to his first four batters — single, double, homer, homer — in his inning Friday. He has given up nine runs in six innings this spring. “He’s trying,” Callaway said. “Sometimes changes are tough. We’re trying to quicken up his delivery and keep him having that one delivery every time.” . . . Closer Jeurys Familia said his right shoulder, tight in a poor outing Thursday, felt good Friday morning. “Muy bien,” he said . . . Major League Baseball and Facebook announced they will broadcast one game per week on the social media platform. The first game: Phillies at Mets on April 4. The game will not be on SNY.