PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Catcher Johnny Monell saw action in just 27 games with the Mets in 2015.His role takes some time getting used to. But with a year behind him, Monell, who turns 30 next week, said he feels more comfortable with what he can do to help
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Catcher Johnny Monell saw action in just 27 games with the Mets in 2015.
His role takes some time getting used to. But with a year behind him, Monell, who turns 30 next week, said he feels more comfortable with what he can do to help the team in 2016.
"Just prepare yourself throughout the offseason, listen to what the coaches had to say towards the end of last year, some of the adjustments I had to make in September and learning from [hitting coach] Kevin Long," Monell said about his approach.
Cutting down on a high leg kick has enabled him to be more efficient at the plate. Understanding the strike zone a little more has led to an impressive Spring Training. Though he did not get a plate appearance in Monday's 2-1 loss to the Marlins, Monell is batting .381 (8-for-21).
"Just being able to be short and cut down some things in my stride," Monell said. "It's paying off. Just being able to trust it and go about my business with it. Just continue to keep working, and it's getting better every day with the drills that we're doing."
It's a comfort level with the pitching staff, coaches and teammates that Monell is beginning to slide into. He came in as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning Monday.
"It's been good," Monell said. "Some of the [pitchers] look like they're in midseason form. Some are not, but that's what Spring Training is for, get all the stuff out of the way and move forward and continue to go about doing our business as a team."
Monell said he is happy to help the team in any way by executing his role -- whether it's playing every fifth day, coming off the bench to hit or just catching bullpen every day.
Monell signed as a free agent in November 2014. He played in only eight Major League games prior, all with the Giants in 2013. He continues to battle for playing time with Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki ahead on the depth chart. He is currently not listed on the 40-man roster.
"I'm fine with it," Monell said. "It's something that I did last year, and I understood it more throughout the year and having a season to think about it and how to prepare. Pay attention to the staff [and] pay attention to the report meetings that we have before each series. Some of that I'm used to, and I'm always eager to learn, so it kind of helps, too."
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com.