NEW YORK -- When Travis d'Arnaud learned Wednesday that he had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, he was unable to speak for the better part of a minute. Later that night, d'Arnaud was watching the Mets game on television when he saw Kevin Plawecki take a 98-mph fastball off his left hand. He called the subsequent revelation that Plawecki suffered a hairline fracture, and will miss three to four weeks, "devastating."
The Mets hope their dual catching injuries -- d'Arnaud will have Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of this season, while Plawecki will undergo non-surgical treatment for his hand -- turn out less grim than that word implies. But those injuries nonetheless forced the Mets to scramble Friday as they returned home sporting a Major League-best 10-1 record.
The Mets placed Plawecki on the disabled list and selected the contract of veteran Jose Lobaton, who will pair with Tomas Nido at catcher for the foreseeable future. They also shored up their bench by recalling outfielder Brandon Nimmo, whom they optioned to the Minors earlier this week, and optioning reliever Jacob Rhame to Triple-A Las Vegas.
"I think we're comfortable for the very short term," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "We'll see how things go."
The situation is a unique one for the Mets, who lost their top two catchers in a two-day span. First was d'Arnaud, who began feeling elbow tightness playing catch before the Mets' game Monday in Miami. An MRI two days later revealed the ligament tear, which will sideline d'Arnaud at least for the rest of this season, and possibly into Spring Training.
"For me, it sucks … with all the expectations that I had, that the team had," said d'Arnaud, who will undergo surgery next week.
The injury would have created a prime opportunity for Plawecki, who was set to start at catcher most days. Plawecki believed he avoided serious damage to his hand when an X-ray taken Wednesday revealed nothing amiss, but two days later, he still felt pain and lacked grip strength. A subsequent MRI revealed the hairline fracture.
"Obviously I'm very disappointed," Plawecki said. "But I'd like to think the opportunity isn't going away. It's only a couple weeks out of a very long season. It could have been a lot worse."
For now, the Mets will rely on the left-handed hitting Lobaton and the right-handed Nido in what could become a catching platoon. Known mostly for his defense and game-calling over an eight-year career with the Padres, Rays and Nationals, Lobaton started Friday against Brewers righty Zach Davies. The Mets are not looking for significant offensive production from Lobaton or Nido, their 11th-ranked prospect, who hit .232 with a .641 OPS last season at Double-A Binghamton.
"I'm happy to be back in the Majors and happy to be with the Mets," Lobaton said. "I'll try to be on the same page with the pitchers. That's the most important thing for me."
The team did make one signing on Friday, inking veteran Johnny Monell to a Minor League deal. They will continue to explore the possibility of adding a veteran catcher, but are unlikely to add a big-name backstop such as Miami's J.T. Realmuto, who would require a significant prospect haul in return. Cheaper options, such as Tampa Bay's Wilson Ramos, could become available as the season progresses, but there is a chance the Mets rely on Nido, Lobaton and eventually Plawecki for the rest of the year.
"We are certainly going to be aware of what else may be available out there, and we'll monitor that market," Alderson said. "But at this moment, we don't have any plans to add anyone."