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Mets Insider: Plawecki making brass think twice

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If Kevin Plawecki’s days in the majors are numbered, he has certainly given the Mets something to think about. The catcher, who was back in the lineup Wednesday night after sitting out Tuesday night, has impressed the Mets with his ability to handle their elite pitching staff.

“He’s done great, he has played very well,” Terry Collins said before Wednesday night’s 9-0 loss to the Cardinals at Citi Field. “He’s caught the ball very well, he’s blocked the ball very well, he’s actually thrown better. He threw out (speedy Marlins second baseman) Dee Gordon, and that’s a big assignment for anybody.

“He works very, very hard with what he does. His pregame is outstanding. During the game, we talk to him about pitch selection, but I will tell you one thing, he has an idea of what he wants to do,” the Mets manager said. “Sometimes, it’s not executed. Sometimes it might be and in our estimation, it might be the wrong pitch, but there is a purpose to why he calls it and what he calls.

“I think that is a sign of a guy who is going to be real good.”

While Plawecki has struggled at times at the plate, he is hitting .171 on the road and .224 overall. He has admittedly made the pending decision about whether to send him back to the minors a difficult one. Travis d’Arnaud, who has been out since April 21 with a broken hand, was cleared to begin hitting on Monday and is expected to be back off the disabled list in just over a week. He is expected to return to his starting catching job.

Plawecki has struggled at the plate at times, hitting .217 in his first 20 games in the majors. D’Arnaud was hitting .317 with two home runs and a team-leading 10 RBI at the time he was injured.

“That is going to be a tough call,” Collins said. “When Travis comes back, you are looking at two guys who both should be playing. That’s hard to do when both have to be out there.”

The Nationals have officially re-entered the race for the National League East. The Mets once held a 4.5-game lead in the division, but Tuesday night with the Mets loss and the Nationals beating the Yankees, they were tied for the first time. With their win over the Yanks Wednesday night, the Nats now lead the East by a game.

Collins shrugged it off. He has said he always expected to be in a race with the Nationals all season and now they are.

“They have a very good club. Certainly they got off to a slow start and we got off to a fast start,” Collins said. “We got cold, they got hot.”

Collins was not going to get caught up in it in May, however.

“I am worrying about the Cardinals right now,” Collins said. “We don’t play the Nationals for a long time. . . . They could be half gone by then, we could be half gone by then.

“So right now, I am worried about those guys in there.”

Injured pitchers Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin, who both had Tommy John surgery in March, were expected at Citi Field Wednesday night. They are having routine, post-surgery check-ups with team doctors on Thursday. Wheeler is not expected back until June of 2016 and Edgin is hoping for next April.

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