Cancel gets chance behind plate
Mets third-string catcher gets start with Knight on mound
NEW YORK -- Catcher Robinson Cancel's trips to the plate have been for the sole purpose of pinch-hitting since the Mets recalled him from Triple-A New Orleans on July 11.
But Cancel continued to prepare for further duty, catching in the bullpen and taking batting practice in the cage to stay sharp. And he got the chance to step in behind the plate Saturday night to catch his former New Orleans teammate Brandon Knight.
"I've always been looking for a place for him to play and an opportunity for him to play," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "He is probably more familiar with Brandon than anybody that we have."
In New Orleans, Cancel served as the other half of the battery with Knight several times and said he feels comfortable with Knight on the mound. Cancel has not caught a game since the day before he was called up, but he said he's not nervous. It's just another game.
As the Mets' third catcher, Cancel has served primarily in a bullpen role, with Brian Schneider and Ramon Castro in the lead and backup backstop spots.
"It's an opportunity," Cancel said. "I haven't played much, just pinch-hit, so it's a good opportunity to show what I can do."
Manuel said he felt confident in Cancel's abilities, because he has been a participant in each game, even if he's not wearing the catcher's mask.
"I think number one, he'll be a good game-caller because he seems to be involved in the game even though he's not catching a lot," Manuel said. "He talks a lot during the game about different situations and things. I don't expect him to have a cannon-like arm. That's obviously one of his deficiencies, but other than that I expect him to handle it very well."
Cancel has provided a solid bat for the Mets in pinch-hit situations since he was recalled. He has gone 2-for-5 with two runs in five appearances. But Manuel said Cancel adds something extra to the Mets' roster that has nothing to do with statistics.
"He brings a level of intelligence and that intangible of knowing what to do in the course of a game," Manuel said. "So we'll get a chance to check him out."
Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.