It’s taken me a long time to warm up to John Buck after that whole punch-pie incident with Jordany Valdespin. Until that point he was exceeding my expectations for someone who was forced on us as a condition of the R.A. Dickey deal. But sometimes you just gotta move on, and after hearing his take on his new reduced role with Travis d’Aranud, I’m willing to let bygones be bygones. Put it there, pal…
The longtime veteran catcher understood the dynamic of the Mets moving forward which will relegate him to a backup catcher for the team.
“It’s not my first year around so I figured that obviously playing time would be lessened, but it’s kind of the nature of the beast,” Buck said Tuesday after returning from paternity leave. “You’ve got your top prospect up, you’re not gonna let him just sit there, so I understand that.”
Buck, who is a free agent after the season and likely won’t be back, has clubbed 15 homers and has 60 RBIs for the Mets, ranking second in both categories.
Mets manager Terry Collins spoke with Buck after he returned from paternity leave and complimented him for handling the demotion with class.
“John Buck’s not at the end of his career, by any means or stretch of the imagination,” said Collins. “Don’t think this is John Buck being the coach. This is John Buck being a professional and trying to help one of his teammates get better, as he would with Anthony Recker, as he’s done with anybody else that would be up here.”
“He knows this division better than anybody. He’s been in it for three years. His knowledge is going to be used to the max but by no means is he just another guy who’s going to coach Travis d’Arnaud to be better. He’s here to be a teammate and when he’s in that lineup to produce.”
As for D’Arnaud, Collins said he’ll have the rest of this season to prove that he should be the Opening Day starter next year.
“We’re going to see the everyday regular lineups of guys that are still competing for something,” Collins said. “We should get a nice sampling of whether or not we think Travis is going to be able to handle it.”
That was an odd thing to say… I would imagine this was his way of trying to light a fire under the kid’s ass. The problem is that’s not how to motivate players in this new era of the game.
D’Arnaud, by the way, ripped a double last night for his first major league hit.