ATLANTA -- The night Travis d'Arnaud arrived at Triple-A Las Vegas, his confidence shot, the catcher sat down in a room with Las Vegas manager Wally Backman, hitting coach George Greer and pitching coach Frank Viola. For two hours, the four of them tossed ideas back and forth, trying to determine the root cause of d'Arnaud's massive season-opening slump.
That night, d'Arnaud singled in his only plate appearance, before collecting two hits the next day and homering twice the day after that. His hot streak never ended, earning d'Arnaud a quick promotion back to the big leagues, where he entered Tuesday's play with a .348 average and .940 OPS in six games since his return. That, along with Juan Lagares' slump, prompted manager Terry Collins to flip those two in Tuesday's lineup, with d'Arnaud moving up to seventh.
d'Arnaud traces all his success back to that meeting in Vegas, where Backman, Greer and Viola beseeched him to stop thinking about mechanics and start trusting his swing.
"It definitely eased my mind," d'Arnaud said.
Though d'Arnaud enjoyed far better results in June than he did early this season or during his big league debut in September, he swears there is nothing mechanically different about his swing. The only difference has been a newfound focus on clearing his mind at the plate, avoiding too much talk of mechanics.
"It's a whole mindset thing," d'Arnaud said. "If I hit the ball hard at somebody, I don't get down on myself. As long as I hit the ball hard, that's when I'm content."
Mets follow US World Cup match during BP
ATLANTA -- The Mets are fortunate no one took a foul ball in the back of the head during batting practice Tuesday.
Plenty of backs were turned to home plate as the Mets batted during the second half, and eventually extra time, of the US Men's National Team's Round of 16 World Cup match against Belgium. The Braves opened Turner Field's gates two hours early to allow fans in to watch, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Earlier in the afternoon, many Mets players sequestered themselves in a back room of the visiting clubhouse, watching between stints in the trainer's room or batting cage. A few foreign players rooted against the US, though the mood, in general, was overwhelmingly patriotic.
The US eventually lost, 2-1, in extra time, drawing groans from the Turner Field crowd. The Mets were already back in their clubhouse by that time.
• Right-hander Dillon Gee will make his next rehabilitation start Friday for Class A Brooklyn, the Mets announced. Gee made his second rehab start Sunday in Brooklyn, allowing one run over 2 2/3 innings. His performance will factor into whether the Mets bring him back from the disabled list for one start prior to the All-Star break, or wait until after. Gee has been on the DL since May 11 with a strained right lat.
• Manager Terry Collins admitted for the first time Tuesday that there's a chance top prospect Noah Syndergaard spends the entire year in the Minors. Syndergaard, who entered the year as a prime candidate for a midseason promotion, has battled injuries at Triple-A Las Vegas and struggled when healthy, posting a 5.35 ERA in 14 starts.