Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Catcher's New Swing Early Hit of Spring

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Catcher's New Swing Early Hit of Spring

Article excerpt

JUPITER, Fla. -- In his quest to fix his swing, Travis d'Arnaud returned to his roots.

Back in his days at Lakewood (Calif.) High School, d'Arnaud employed a short, compact swing that allowed for a more direct path to the ball.

In his professional career, d'Arnaud veered away from that swing, with the catcher developing a bat wrap that pointed the bat at the pitcher and at times made it hard to consistently square up pitches.

After suffering through the worst year of his career last season, d'Arnaud recognized he had to make a change. He worked with Mets hitting coach Kevin Long to develop a simpler, more consistent swing.

That new swing ultimately resembled the one he used in prep days.

"I'm able to see the ball longer and don't have to cheat to get certain pitches," d'Arnaud said. "Keeping everything slow and not trying to do too much."

D'Arnaud's shorter swing is paying dividends in the first wave of Grapefruit League games as d'Arnaud is batting .450 with two homers after homering in Monday's 8-2 win over the Marlins. D'Arnaud already has two homers in 20 at-bats in camp after hitting just four in 75 games last season.

"The game plan is laid out, and his ability to execute and go about it day in and day out and then take it into the game has been flawless, honestly, at this point," Long said. "We'll try to keep him there and see how long he goes with that, but if he does that, I expect to see a lot more of this."

Spring training results can often be taken with a grain of salt due to the level of competition, but early on d'Arnaud has looked like a different player than he did during his poor 2016 campaign. D'Arnaud hit just .247 with a .629 OPS and totaled just 11 extra-base hits spanning 276 plate appearances last season.

The catcher's mechanics are far simpler than they were last year, when he had too many moving parts in his swing, and that prevented him from finding consistency. …

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