NEW YORK -- Asked often in Spring Training about his long-term role with the Mets, catcher John Buck typically spoke about a day he understood would come: the day that top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud would arrive in Flushing to take his job.
That day officially came Monday, when the Mets optioned backup Anthony Recker to Triple-A Las Vegas, keeping d'Arnaud in Queens and essentially pushing Buck into backup duty. As a result, Buck started Tuesday's game on the bench, while d'Arnaud squatted behind the plate.
"Obviously, playing time will be lessened, but that's kind of the nature of the beast," Buck said. "You've got your top prospect up, you're not just going to let him sit there."
The Mets do plan to keep Buck as involved as possible, starting him on occasion and leaning on his experience to help draw up game plans. But Buck, who mentored d'Arnaud extensively in Spring Training, is quite simply no longer a starting catcher.
"John Buck is not at the end of his career by any means, by any stretch of the imagination," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "So don't think this is John Buck being a coach. This is John Buck being a professional and trying to make one of his teammates better."