Plawecki finds hitting stroke after demotion

Mets' catcher stays hot since being recalled with home run against Reds

Plawecki finds hitting stroke after demotion

NEW YORK -- Whatever adjustments Kevin Plawecki made during his most recent demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, which came on May 25, they're paying dividends. Since his return to the Mets on Aug. 19, Plawecki has shown the Mets why he could be a part of their plans for 2018 and beyond.

Since the callup, he's split time behind the plate with Travis d'Arnaud as the Mets evaluate their catching situation down the stretch. Earlier this week, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson gave both a vote of confidence heading into next season. Plawecki continued to make Alderson look good Saturday night, hitting a go-ahead two-run home run off Homer Bailey in the second inning of the Mets' 6-1 win over the Reds at Citi Field.

The demotion in May was a bit of a wakeup call for the 26-year-old.

"I went back down there with a little chip on my shoulder, went back to work and used it as a time to lock that swing down so that when I got back up here, there's no turning back," Plawecki said.

Plawecki on 6-1 win

On Saturday, Plawecki jumped on a 1-0 two-seam fastball from Bailey on the inner-half of the plate and drove it off the facing of the second deck in left field. The home run traveled a projected 408 feet, according to Statcast™, and left the bat at 103.7 mph.

Plawecki admitted he felt he became passive during the early stages of his time in the Majors and looked to only hit pitches in his preferred zones. 

"[I've been] aggressive on pitches I can be aggressive with," Plawecki said. "And [I'm] sticking to that."

After slashing just .125/.214/.167 over 28 plate appearances in 10 games (six starts) before the demotion, Plawecki has a newfound confidence in his swing. Plawecki is 13-for-43 (.302) since being recalled, with two home runs, five RBIs and four doubles in 13 games (11 starts).

"When we sent him down, one of the conversations I had with him was that every place he'd been in the Minor Leagues, he put up pretty good numbers," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I always tell the guys that the things you do best, concentrate on, and make sure you do them great. I said, 'Kevin, you've always hit, and I know you haven't been an everyday catcher in the big leagues, but you've yet to put up offensive numbers. Now go down there and do it.'"

Plawecki did just that. With Las Vegas, Plawecki registered a .328/.375/.514 slash line with nine home runs and 45 RBIs in 64 games. Collins also attributed Plawecki's recent success to hitting the ball in the air more often.

"We put a lot of hard work into it, so it's good to see some results," Plawecki said.

Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.