5/23/2014 1:06 A.M. ET
Mets slot Campbell in left, and he contributes
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Before slotting Eric Campbell in left field Thursday night, Terry Collins said, "I did my homework." The Mets manager called his counterpart at Triple-A Las Vegas, Wally Backman, and asked if he would be making a mistake by playing the natural corner infielder in the outfield.
"Absolutely not," came the reply.
And so Collins, in an effort to keep Campbell's hot bat in the lineup, gave the rookie his first career start in left. The move paid dividends. Though Campbell finished 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, he made a potentially game-saving diving catch of Hanley Ramirez's sinking liner in the eighth during the Mets' 5-3 win.
"That's how it always goes," Collins said. "You put a guy in for his offense and his defense saves the game."
Campbell regularly takes fly balls at both corner-outfield positions, as well as grounders at both corner-infield spots. On days when he does not start, Campbell also takes balls at second base.
The result is a more versatile defensive player than Josh Satin, the right-handed corner infielder whom Campbell replaced on the roster earlier this month. Campbell even played a bit of shortstop this season at Vegas, making him the Mets' most adaptable defender, and Collins indicated after Thursday's game that he might look to use him there in the future.
"He has just dedicated himself to being a good baseball player," Collins said. "You look at all the things he brings to the table -- his versatility, the way he's gotten better offensively -- it's from hard work."
It's that last part -- the offense -- that has the Mets most intrigued. Though Campbell is not known as a power hitter, he did hit three homers in 33 games at Vegas and launched his first big league long ball in Wednesday's loss to the Dodgers. Campbell is now hitting .368 over his first 22 big league plate appearances, giving the Mets a legitimate threat at any number of positions.
"I like coming to the park and moving around a little bit," Campbell said. "Playing the same position for me, I knew that wouldn't be my way here a few years ago. I knew I would have to get better at a lot of positions, and that's what I've done."
d'Arnaud knows risk of more concussions
NEW YORK -- The days following Travis d'Arnaud's concussion were filled with emptiness.
"I was just lying in bed," d'Arnaud said. "Sometimes if I was bored of that, I'd go to the couch and lay on the couch. That was pretty much it."
Such was the extent of the concussion symptoms that d'Arnaud experienced last week, after taking an Alfonso Soriano backswing off the top of his helmet. Extremely sensitive to light and sound in the days that followed, d'Arnaud endured "a lot of headaches" and struggled to sleep.
It is a concern for the Mets, even though d'Arnaud feels better now and has been cleared for full baseball activities. This concussion was the third of d'Arnaud's professional career, following similar episodes in 2011 and '08. Previous concussions typically make athletes more susceptible to future ones, prompting the Mets to explore ways to protect their starting catcher.
At the beginning of last season, the organization asked d'Arnaud to shift a bit further behind home plate. They also encouraged him to continue using the hockey-style goalie mask that he adopted in the Minors, though d'Arnaud now hopes to switch back to a traditional helmet with detachable mask.
Regardless of those factors, d'Arnaud knows he will always be at risk. In the wake of his latest concussion, he took solace mostly in the fact that Soriano's backswing was abnormally long and violent -- the type that catchers do not often experience.
"Anytime you have a guy that says, 'Hey, I've got three concussions,' you've got to worry about it," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But that was a pretty freakish thing."
For the next two to three days, d'Arnaud will participate in baseball activities under the watchful eyes of Mets staff members. Doctors must fully clear him before he can come off the disabled list, in a process that could drag into the weekend.
In the interim, Anthony Recker and Juan Centeno will continue splitting time at catcher.
• Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose, LITE FM's Rich Kaminski and Mets in-game hosts Alexa Datt and Branden Wellington will serve as judges for Banner Day this Sunday at Citi Field, the team announced. Tickets and complete guidelines for Banner Day are available at Mets.com/BannerDay.