JUPITER, Fla. -- The Mets still plan on having Travis d'Arnaud begin the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. Nevertheless, the top catching prospect remains in major-league camp because the organization believes he will benefit from continued work with the team's pitchers and coaching staff.
Keeping d'Arnaud in camp this late is a risky proposition. If he were to be injured between now and Opening Day, he would begin accumulating major-league service time, which would grant him an extra year of salary arbitration. Nevertheless, after Monday's 3-2 win over the Cardinals, general manager Sandy Alderson said the risk is worth taking.
The Mets caught a glimpse of the looming injury risk Monday when d'Arnaud drew contact during a play at the plate, but he emerged unscathed.
"I'm feeling loose and just having fun, man, not trying to overstress myself and overthink everything," said d'Arnaud, who went 2-for-3 with a double to raise his average to .345.
Duda goes the other way
The Mets have long wanted Lucas Duda to get comfortable using all fields, which is why manager Terry Collins was encouraged by what he saw Monday. Duda's two-run homer went to the opposite field.
"That is one of the biggest things in spring training . . . to get him to understand the great power he's got to centerfield and to left-centerfield," Collins said. "It's certainly good to see it."
Shortstop Ruben Tejada homered in his first spring training at-bat but has gone 2-for-33 since. He's hitting .088 after Monday's 0-for-3 performance against the Cardinals . . . Flu-like symptoms kept catcher John Buck from reporting to camp . . . The Mets' bullpen totaled 32/3 scoreless innings against the Cardinals, capped by a scoreless ninth by closer Bobby Parnell.