Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud has been placed on the 10-day DL, the team announced. He has been diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, Tim Britton of The Athletic tweets.
Needless to say, that’s not good news for the backstop, who has dealt with a long run of injuries in his relatively short MLB career. Youngster Tomas Nido has been called up to take his spot on the active roster.
At the moment, it isn’t clear just what the course of treatment will be for d’Arnaud. But it is possible he’ll require surgery, per Britton. If it turns out he needs a Tommy John procedure, it would likely cost d’Arnaud the remainder of the season.
UCL injuries are not as devastating for position players as they are for pitchers, of course. But a full replacement would still mean a lengthy rehab timeline. Miguel Sano, for instance, missed the rest of the 2014 season after undergoing a TJ fix at the beginning of March.
At times, d’Arnaud has shown plenty of promise in the majors — especially with a .268/.340/.485 slash in his 268 plate appearances in 2015. But he has never returned to that level of productivity with the bat. In the three seasons since, d’Arnaud carries a .244/.297/.393 slash.
Entering the current season, the plan was for the Mets to share time between d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. Now, the latter figures to occupy the primary duties behind the dish. He, too, has shown promise at times but hasn’t fully established himself as a regular to this point.
For the time being, at least, Nido will have a shot to show he, too, belongs. The former eighth-round pick, who turns 24 on Thursday, is said to be profile as a quality defender but has a less-than-certain offensive profile. Nido touched the majors last year but spent most of the season at Double-A, where he hit .232/.287/.354 over 404 plate appearances.
It’s possible that the Mets could eventually turn to Jose Lobaton, a veteran of eight MLB campaigns. The switch-hitting career reserve is available at Triple-A after signing a minors deal over the winter. Of course, he is also coming off of a brutal (.170/.248/.277) season at the plate.
The injury certainly casts some doubt on d’Arnaud’s future in the organization — particularly if it spurs a UCL replacement. He is earning $3.475MM this year with one more season of arbitration eligibility remaining.