Plawecki makes presence felt in first Major League game
Catcher becomes first Met to have two hits and two runs scored in debut since 2007
NEW YORK -- Before the Mets extended their winning streak to nine with Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Braves, manager Terry Collins tried to subdue some of the hype surrounding Kevin Plawecki.
"We will help him get through certain situations," Collins said of the Mets' No. 2 prospect. "There is an awful lot to learn on your first day."
Consider Plawecki a sharp student.
Playing in place of the injured Travis d'Arnaud, Plawecki excelled in his Major League debut, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and adding an impactful defensive play.
Three times Plawecki hit the ball hard and twice he hit it hard enough for the ball to scamper through the infield for a single. Both times he extended a rally and eventually scored on a Curtis Granderson hit.
In the sixth inning he blocked a Jon Niese pitch in the dirt and threw out Andrelton Simmons attempting to advance to second. Oh yeah, and the 24-year-old almost caught a shutout.
"He's going to be a big league player for a long time," Collins said after the game. "We're very, very lucky that we have the kind of kids that come up and we don't miss a beat."
Summoned from Triple-A Las Vegas after d'Arnaud suffered a fractured metacarpal of the pinkie finger Sunday, Plawecki hit .309 with 11 home runs and 64 RBIs between Double-A Binghamton and Las Vegas last season, when he represented the Mets in the MLB Futures Game.
He received a text message from d'Arnaud soon after his callup. The next day, d'Arnaud took him out to dinner to discuss scouting and Major League protocol.
"But we talked mostly as friends," Plawecki said. "That shows what kind of guy Travis is."
d'Arnaud was arguably the Mets' most productive hitter before his injury, hitting .317 with 10 RBIs in 11 games. Plawecki made sure New York didn't miss a beat on Tuesday. He lined out sharply to first base in his first at-bat and sprayed base hits to both left and right field before the night was over. In between he helped guide Niese to 6 2/3 one-run innings.
"It was like he'd been there a time or two," Niese said. "He kept his composure and called a great game. He and I were on the same page pretty much all night."
With friends and family in attendance, the former supplemental-round pick from Purdue became the first Mets player to collect two hits and two runs in his Major League debut since Carlos Gomez in 2007.
"I felt comfortable after that first at-bat," Plawecki said. "I was just happy to make contact to be honest. After that I was pretty excited. I just got back to playing baseball."
But Plawecki didn't avoid the unavoidable -- and the night did contain some rookie moments. He laughed afterwards about running into the dugout during the replay review of his throw to second when Simmons tried to advance.
"I have to get used to that," he said.
Chalk it up to first-day jitters.