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D'Arnaud struggling at plate, not behind it

NEW YORK -- It was another tough day at the plate for rookie catcher Travis d'Arnaud.

The Mets won -- so that made it a little easier -- but there's no hiding the struggles of the highly touted prospect.

After an 0-for-3 performance, d'Arnaud has only three hits in his 33 September plate appearances.

"I have been [taking more batting practice]," d'Arnaud said. "Me and [Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens] have been working hard trying to get a consistent swing and everything consistent and the same."

D'Arnaud concedes his struggles stem from both mental and physical issues. But he did hit a shot to right field that sent Giancarlo Stanton back to the warning track, giving d'Arnaud the feeling that he's getting close to a breakout game.

"I'm just trying to hit the ball hard," d'Arnaud said. "Today, I hit that one to right field that was hit pretty well. As long as I stay right there, they'll start falling eventually. I just try to keep my mind at ease and keep it simple."

D'Arnaud was a key piece in the offseason trade that sent R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays. The catcher suffered a setback with a broken foot earlier in the year but came back to hit .306 in 18 games at Triple-A.

After being called up in mid-August, d'Arnaud took hold of the everyday duties from starting catcher John Buck, who was eventually shipped to the Pirates.

D'Arnaud hasn't been able to replicate his minor league success yet at the big league level, but his teammates aren't concerned.

"We've had very little offensive conversations for him because I know he can hit," backup catcher Anthony Recker said. "I've seen him [in] spring training, I've seen him swing it in BP, he's got a great swing. He's going to do really well in this league. It's a matter of him settling down and getting comfortable and feeling comfortable and that takes time."

One thing d'Arnaud has been feeling comfortable with is his game management behind the plate. His coaches and teammates have given positive feedback on his ability to learn the pitching staff and call a smart game.

"I love the way he approaches the game," Recker said. "He's willing to learn what the pitchers want to do and I've seen him studying the opposing hitters so he knows what he's doing there. And then it's a matter of getting the experience and getting the action."

For d'Arnaud, catching has come more easily than hitting.

"Some guys get here and they struggle at first because you put pressure on yourself as a player, just as someone who wants to do well," Recker said. "So that can make it tough. And then you feel like you have to battle out of that, you have to do more and more.

"He's going to do fine. He'll string together a few good games and all of the sudden things are going to turn like that."