Saturday, February 09, 2013

Mets Catcher John Buck says Johan was tipping his pitches



When pitchers and catchers officially report next week, new Mets Catcher John Buck will have a conversation with Johan Santana in an effort to help the left-hander.

Buck’s Marlins picked up on Santana tipping his pitches last year, and now Buck wants to relay the information to Santana in an effort to correct the problem.

The veteran catcher will be there for his pitchers in many different ways.

“Little things like that can really help,’’ Buck explained yesterday. “I know it’s something that Santana has known about in the past, but being his catcher and having hit against him, if it happens to pop up again, I can help.’’



Buck, who came over from the Blue Jays in the trade for R.A. Dickey after being dealt a month earlier from the Marlins, already has made a good impression in camp and can’t wait to get started next week with the entire staff. He loves what he has seen from prized right-handers Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, as well as Bobby Parnell and Dillon Gee.

Buck is now on the opposite end of the spectrum of expectations from last year, when there were high hopes for the big-spending Marlins that ultimately flopped. He said he truly believes the Mets, if the young pitching comes through and the bullpen develops, will have success.

“We can be knocking at the door of the playoffs,’’ he said.

“I think one of the things that made me attractive in the trade for the Mets was that I am known as a game-caller,’’ said Buck, who hit .192 last year but blasted 12 home runs, five more than all Mets catchers combined. “I’m a little bit older and I have experience. We have pitchers who are right at the cusp of success, so I think it’s a perfect situation for me to help bring the most out of them. Those guys aren’t even throwing hard yet and the ball jumps. It’s fun to have those tools at my disposal.’’

Buck, 32, is close friends with new Mets reliever Brandon Lyon and was teammates with new starter Shaun Marcum in 2010 in Toronto.

“Me and Brandon Lyon grew up together in Utah,’’ Buck said. “We’ve camped out together. He is really going to help us. He bridges those middle to late innings and he can close too. With him, Parnell and Frank [Francisco] that shortens a lot of games.’’

Buck also will help tutor young catcher Travis d’Arnaud, but he is here to take care of his own job and the pitchers. That is why the Mets acquired him.

“I will help him in any way I can,’’ Buck said.
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