8/14/2014 11:45 P.M. ET
d'Arnaud solidifying Mets' future at catcher
By Tim Healey / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- As the Mets continue to evaluate their roster with at least one eye looking at 2015, the last two months have seemingly solidified one position that earlier this season was one of the club's most worrisome question marks: catcher.
Travis d'Arnaud's resurgence since his promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas has, in manager Terry Collins' view, been enough to discount the rookie catcher's first three months when it comes time to making production projections moving forward.
"You have to go with what the majority of the season, and over that course of 400 at-bats, I think the numbers are going to dictate that, yeah, he's the real deal," Collins said. "The second half of the season, this guy is going to put up some really, really good numbers. He's gone from hitting eighth and being pinch-hit for to hitting fifth. And we're very comfortable having him hit there."
d'Arnaud's improvements are obvious. He entered play Thursday batting .277 with a .318 on-base percentage and -- most importantly, perhaps -- a .511 slugging mark since returning from Las Vegas in late June, as opposed to producing a .180/.271/.273 slash line before the demotion. Collins said d'Arnaud has been every bit the player the Mets thought they were getting when they acquired him in the R.A. Dickey trade in December 2012.
Collins maintained that the Mets made only a minor tweak to d'Arnaud's offensive approach -- moving him closer to home to allow him to better cover the outer half of the plate -- and the biggest difference is d'Arnaud's confidence.
The next step in his growth as a hitter has to do with his new spot in the lineup.
"If he's going to keep hitting fifth, he has to drive some runs in," Collins said. "Is he going to drive in runs? Not just with home runs, but be good enough hitter to be a doubles and homers guy. If he can be a complete hitter that way, he's going to be a real valuable piece of the team."
Collins: Harvey 'not going to pitch this year'
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey and Terry Collins seem to be on the same page, for now.
The Mets' injured ace and manager chatted Thursday to go over the last couple of days, as well as the organization's recently re-emphasized desire for Harvey to tone down the pace and aggressiveness of his Tommy John rehabilitation.
"I'm not worried about Matt," Collins said. "He's going to be fine. I know he's going to be fine. He's going to get through the process. He's not going to pitch this year. I'm settled with that. He's settled with that."
The bottom line of Harvey and Collins' conversation Thursday was simple: Be careful. The Mets don't want what happened to Jeremy Hefner -- another Tommy John patient who recently experienced a serious setback that might require another surgery -- happen to Harvey, who is too important to the organization to miss another year.
Collins tried to make that clear to the right-hander.
"You've got to understand, it's the big picture," Collins told Harvey. "And the big picture is 2015. So back off."
Harvey threw a 27-pitch bullpen Wednesday and told ESPN Radio in New York that he easily reached the low-to-mid 90s. All physical signs have been positive so far, so Collins understands it's hard for someone as competitive as Harvey to hold back.
The Mets would like him to anyway. The differing views have led to some frustration for the Mets this week.
"Unless I'm standing next to him, I can't control it," Collins said. "It's impossible. This guy will hire somebody to go throw on the side. That's just how he is. I've said, 'You've got to be smart about this. And by the way, stop doing radio shows during the ballgame telling everybody you're throwing 95. That isn't going to help us up here.'
"I just told him, 'You've got to take the big picture of things and you've got to be careful what you're doing and what you're saying, because you have to be here next year.'"
Tejada adjusting to reserve role with Mets
NEW YORK -- The biggest question surrounding the Mets' middle infielders -- though not necessarily a topic of conversation between them -- got an answer last week when the club named Wilmer Flores the starting the shortstop for the rest of the season after several months of ambiguity. Ruben Tejada was relegated to the bench.
A week later, it's hard to tell how Tejada is adjusting to the more clear-cut reserve role.
"His outward appearance, he's been OK. He works hard, he does his extra hitting, he does his extra fielding," manager Terry Collins said. "Inside, I'm sure he's furious. And he should be, because he was the shortstop here, and now he's got to watch.
"But he has not been an issue as far as the preparation side. Once in a while, you may not like something, but you have to accept some things, and during that process you have to keep yourself ready. He's done that."
For his part, Tejada stuck to the party line regarding his new, lessened role.
"I don't think it's any different," Tejada said. "Just wait for my opportunity to play."
Entering play Thursday, Tejada had gotten into one out of the Mets' last seven games, and there isn't reason to believe he'll see much more time going forward.
Eric Campbell and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, both of whom boast better offensive numbers than Tejada, have been getting most of pinch-hitting chances of late. Eric Young Jr. is the team's designated pinch-runner.
That leaves Tejada as strictly a defensive replacement most days, just as he would have been if the Mets' 3-2 loss Wednesday ended up in extra innings after Young pinch-ran for Flores.
To make the most of it, Tejada aims to stay active in the event he's called into action. That involves a routine of plenty of mid-game stretches, soft toss and offspeed-pitching work in the batting cage.
"It's different, because when you're not playing, you take one pinch-hit that day or something or play defense. It's a little bit harder," Tejada said. "When we start playing, stay ready. You never know what's going to happen."
• David Wright extended his hit streak to a season-high 13 games with a first-inning single in Thursday's 4-1 loss to Washington.
• Carlos Torres' 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Nationals on Thursday ended a streak of four consecutive appearances in which he allowed a home run. Michael Taylor's flyout to the warning track in center nearly extended that run.
• The Mets re-signed outfielder Bobby Abreu on Thursday and assigned him to Las Vegas, the club announced. Abreu, 40, hit .238/.331/.336 in 67 games for the Mets before they designated him for assignment Aug. 5.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.