While the future with catcher Travis d’Arnaud looks bright, Jenrry Mejia left after three innings with discomfort in his elbow.
SAN DIEGO — The Mets got a glimpse of their future Saturday night and the questions that lie ahead. On the night that Travis d’Arnaud, their catcher of the future, made his major-league debut, one-time top pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia walked off the mound with discomfort in his surgically repaired elbow.
While the future with d’Arnaud looks bright, the Mets’ present was not so hot. Their bullpen got pounded by the Padres for an 8-2 loss at Petco Park.
The Mets (56-65) lost for the first time in three games and dropped to 4-5 on their 11-game road trip. The Padres (55-68) have a chance to even this four-game series Sunday afternoon.
Mejia left with discomfort in his right elbow after throwing two pitches in the fourth. The 23-year-old righthander was diagnosed with bone chips in the elbow coming out of spring training. He missed most of the first half of the season with inflammation and pain in the elbow, but decided to try to pitch through it rather than have season-ending surgery.
Mejia gave up one run on four hits in three innings, striking out five. David Aardsma gave up four on six hits in two innings. Carlos Torres gave up a three-run homer to Jedd Gyorko in the eighth.
“Obviously the elbow is an issue,” Terry Collins said of Mejia (1-2), who missed all of 2011 after having Tommy John surgery.
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Nick Hundley is congratulated by Logan Forsythe after his two-run blast put the Padres ahead.
“I have not seen Sandy (Alderson) yet. “We won’t make a determination yet until I see (the Mets’ GM) about what the next step might be.
“You knew there was a time it might come back, might flare up again. (We) certainly did not realize the severity of today. Dan (Warthen, pitching coach) came out of the bullpen saying he didn’t warm up too much.”
D’Arnaud, who had been called up Friday night to cover for John Buck’s paternity leave, got thrown right into the fire Saturday night, having to learn the Mets starter and bullpen early and quickly. He allowed three stolen bases — although one was clearly more a result of Mejia’s delayed delivery — and was charged with a passed ball in the fifth. The catcher, who was acquired from Toronto in the R.A. Dickey trade, drew a walk in his first major league plate appearance and walked again in the eighth. He went 0-for-2, including grounding out with runners on second and third in the fifth.
“It’s indescribable man, one of those feelings everyone dreams of having, can’t even describe it,” d’Arnaud said.
“But unfortunately we got the loss and we’ve got to come out and finish the series tomorrow.”
The 24-year-old product of Southern California, who had his family in the ballpark for his debut, has time to impress the Mets. While he was called up for the three-day paternity leave, there is a strong possibility he will stay beyond that.
Eric Young Jr. slides in safely as Padres catcher Nick Hundley waits for the ball.
“We’re certainly hoping he stays,” Collins said. “Now is that a plan going in? I don’t know. We’ve just got to hope he’s ready to show us he belongs here. The next three days we’ll get a plan for where he is at, what we do and where we are.
“There is a fine line, between ‘hey it’s time now,’ and ‘he can’t do any more at Triple-A,’ ” the Mets’ manager continued. “That’s why these three days, in John’s situation, this might be the perfect time to take a look at this guy.
. . . It’s a perfect opportunity, bring him up here and have a chance to play the next three days and make a determination on Monday what the move will be.”
D’Arnaud’s debut had been anticipated for nearly two weeks as Buck’s paternity leave loomed. D’Arnaud, however, said he tried not to think about it. After missing nearly three months this season with a broken foot, he just wanted to be back on the field.
Even though d’Arnaud is considered the top catching prospect in baseball, his progression to the majors has been hindered by injuries. The 24-year-old, who was a first-round pick by the Phillies in 2007, tore a knee ligament sliding into second base in 2011, which ended his season in Triple-A. He also required surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament that year. In spring training, d’Arnaud was expected to join the Mets by the end of June, around the same time Zack Wheeler was promoted, but he fractured the first metatarsal in his left foot in April and missed more than three months. “My foot feels fine,” d’Arnaud said. “I don’t even notice it anymore.”
Collins was impressed with his catcher’s debut.
“You could see he was a little nervous. I thought he was fine,” he said. Again at the plate he looked all right.
“He hasn’t caught a couple of these guys in a while; I thought he did fine. I am sure the whole experience, the travel and the jumping right in there, he’s gonna be fine. He looked fine.”