SAN FRANCISCO -- Hoping to re-ignite their catcher of the future, the Mets on Saturday optioned Travis d'Arnaud to Triple-A Las Vegas, selecting the contract of Taylor Teagarden.
d'Arnaud, who hit .180 with a .544 OPS in 39 games, will play regularly at Las Vegas as he works to regain the form that once made him one of the top prospects in baseball.
"I've just got work to do," d'Arnaud said. "I've got to find my swing, just get it back."
Over the course of a 46-second interview late Saturday night, a visibly distressed d'Arnaud repeated that sentiment three times in response to three questions.
"He's upset, and I think he's upset at himself," said third baseman David Wright, who spoke to d'Arnaud shortly after the demotion. "But I think that it's a bump in the road. What I told him is that you can't think of this as a failed opportunity, or that now people think less of you in the organization. It's a bump in the road, and a lot of really, really good players go through this when they're first brought up."
d'Arnaud struggled in his brief big league debut last season, hitting .202 with a .548 OPS over 31 games. Nonetheless, he entered Spring Training unchallenged for the starting job.
The Mets acquired d'Arnaud and top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard as part of the seven-player deal that sent R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays in December 2012.
Teagarden, 30, was hitting .279 with eight home runs in 34 games at Las Vegas, also striking out 36 times in 104 at-bats. The Mets have not revealed how they plan to split playing time between Teagarden and Anthony Recker, who had served as d'Arnaud's primary backup.