Phillies Notes: Former Phils farmhand d'Arnaud becomes a Mets mainstay

Travis d'Arnaud gets some skin from Mets teammate Juan Lagares (left) after homering. d'Arnaud paid his dues in the minors with the Gulf Coast League Phillies.
Travis d'Arnaud gets some skin from Mets teammate Juan Lagares (left) after homering. d'Arnaud paid his dues in the minors with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. (Associated Press)
Posted: August 29, 2013

NEW YORK - They lived in Clearwater, Fla., at a place called the Buena Vista Hotel, a fine establishment that is now a TraveLodge on U.S. 19. "Oh, yeah," Jake Diekman said. "It was wonderful. They had a room catch on fire in 2008. One of the players lost, like, everything." That was their introduction to professional baseball.

The 2007 Gulf Coast League Phillies walked 10 minutes to the ballpark. Not counting rehabilitation players, 44 men played on that team. The three members in the majors - Diekman, Justin De Fratus, and Travis d'Arnaud - reunited Monday at Citi Field.

"It was crazy seeing them in the big leagues," d'Arnaud said. "For us, it's amazing. Who would have thought when we were all in the Gulf Coast League that we would all be here?"

The Phillies believed in d'Arnaud and reluctantly parted with him to acquire Roy Halladay in a 2009 trade with Toronto. Now, d'Arnaud is a starting catcher in the majors. That was confirmed Tuesday with the Mets' trade of John Buck and Marlon Byrd to Pittsburgh. The Phillies could see him for years. New York traded its own Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey, for d'Arnaud last winter.

The 24-year-old Californian fielded a barrage of questions Tuesday from his corner locker in the Mets clubhouse. He was uncomfortable, having replaced a mentor in Buck.

"I've been here for a week and I've had hundreds of questions already," d'Arnaud said. "He's always been there for me, answering every single one for me."

Among the three Phillies dealt for Halladay, d'Arnaud stands the best chance of succeeding in the majors. Outfielder Michael Taylor turns 28 in December and has logged just 26 career games in the majors. Kyle Drabek, 25, is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery.

Diekman threw to d'Arnaud in the Gulf Coast League and at Williamsport and Lakewood. "You could just tell," he said of d'Arnaud's ability. He and De Fratus were relaxing Monday during batting practice when d'Arnaud approached them.

"What's up?" he said. They laughed and reminisced about old times at the Buena Vista Hotel.

"I lived through another trade," d'Arnaud said. "It does seem like forever ago."

Brown out

Domonic Brown stepped onto the field at 3:03 p.m. Tuesday and jogged under the watchful eye of assistant athletic trainer Shawn Fcasni. The session lasted five minutes, long enough to exclude Brown from the lineup for a third straight game because of soreness in his right Achilles tendon.

"He still feels it," interim manager Ryne Sandberg said, "so no sense in pushing it or anything."

Extra bases

Two intriguing outfielders, Kelly Dugan and Aaron Altherr, are among the Phillies contingent heading to the Arizona Fall League. Both Dugan and Altherr must be added to the 40-man roster this winter or they will be eligible for selection in December's Rule 5 draft. Dugan, 22, has hit 20 home runs this season and is all but assured of a roster spot. Catcher Cameron Rupp, a probable September call-up, also will go to Arizona. Four relievers - Ken Giles, Mike Nesseth, Kyle Simon, and Austin Wright - round out the group. . . . Wednesday, the Phillies will oppose righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka for the first time since 2010.


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