Mets announce d'Arnaud set to return from DL

Catcher to be activated Wednesday but unlikely to start; Plawecki scratched

Mets announce d'Arnaud set to return from DL

NEW YORK -- In the 53 days since Travis d'Arnaud landed on the disabled list with a broken right pinkie, Mets catchers have hit .185 and driven in 18 runs over 168 at-bats.

New York hopes d'Arnaud can fill what manager Terry Collins called a "big hole" when the catcher is activated Wednesday.

d'Arnaud was hitting .317 and leading the Mets in RBIs when he was hit on the hand by an A.J. Ramos fastball April 19. Since then, the bulk of the catching duty has fallen on rookie Kevin Plawecki, who has had to battle the expected learning curve and recently an inner-ear infection. Plawecki has hit .211 in 109 at-bats and missed three of the last four games due to continued dizziness.

Plawecki said over the weekend his symptoms are not related to the vertigo he suffered with Triple-A Las Vegas last season. He was scratched during batting practice Tuesday and replaced with Anthony Recker, who entered the game hitting .156.

At that time, d'Arnaud was wrapping up his second rehab game at Triple-A Las Vegas. d'Arnaud went 1-for-8 and caught 15 innings over two games with the 51s after completing a five-game rehab stint with Class A Advanced St. Lucie.

d'Arnaud is expected to arrive in New York and be activated Wednesday, the Mets announced. But manager Terry Collins said d'Arnaud probably wouldn't play until Thursday. Collins said he is sensitive to the jetlag d'Arnaud could experience on a red-eye flight back from Las Vegas and that he would rather ease d'Arnaud back into the lineup.

Plawecki is not expected to remain in the Majors when d'Arnaud is activated.

d'Arnaud's arrival could stimulate a snowball effect of sorts regarding similarly anticipated returns for the Mets, who have lost several key players to injury early this season. Second baseman Dilson Herrera, recovering from a broken finger, and reliever Bobby Parnell, on his way back from Tommy John surgery, are expected to return shortly as well.

As it stands, New York has 10 players on the disabled list, including its starting third baseman (David Wright), second baseman (Daniel Murphy) and catcher (d'Arnaud). Reliever Jerry Blevins, who fractured his left forearm on the same day as d'Arnaud's injury, isn't close to rejoining the team.

The absence of Wright and d'Arnaud specifically has halted a Mets lineup trying to support its talented young pitching staff. New York sits in the bottom third in the Majors in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

"If Travis gets back to where he was before he got hurt, people are going to think we're a whole different lineup," Collins said. "Now all of a sudden there is one less big hole in the lineup. This guy can fill it up pretty fast."

Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.