d'Arnaud returns; Mets option Plawecki

d'Arnaud returns; Mets option Plawecki

NEW YORK -- Travis d'Arnaud walked through the clubhouse late Tuesday afternoon cracking jokes, grinning, talking about how happy he was to be back. The Mets are just as thrilled. They activated d'Arnaud, who had not played since April 25 due to a partially torn rotator cuff, from the disabled list in time for the series opener against the Royals.

"I'm so happy to be back with the great group of guys," d'Arnaud said. "Everyone in here has welcomed me with open arms back again today. They've already put smiles on my face. ... I feel great. I feel fantastic. I'm ready to go out there and get a win."

To clear roster space, the Mets optioned backup Kevin Plawecki to Triple-A Las Vegas. Given an unfettered run at the starting catcher's job in d'Arnaud's absence, Plawecki hit just .196 with a .572 OPS in 34 games. Rather than keep Plawecki, the Mets chose to proceed with a tandem of d'Arnaud and Rene Rivera, a veteran who has drawn rave reviews for his defense and game-calling.

"Kevin's the prospect in the bunch," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Coming out of the Minor Leagues, he was a high pick for us. Those guys have got to play. ... He sat, didn't play a lot until he was forced in the lineup, and then we needed him to step up. I think it was unfair to ask him to be able to do that with the number of games he played."

The Mets hope having d'Arnaud back helps spark an offense that ranks 29th in the Majors in runs scored and batting average since May 1. A .268 hitter with 12 home runs in 67 games last season, d'Arnaud was hitting just .196 at the time of his injury. But he is an offensive-minded catcher who hit .317 on an 11-game Minor League rehab assignment.

"Look, I'm here to cheer everyone up, put smiles on everyone's faces, and do everything I can to help the team win," d'Arnaud said.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.