What we learned in the first week of the 2022 season – The Athletic

When catcher Roberto Pérez went down with a bruised thigh in the second inning of Friday’s game, Pirates coach Don Kelly turned to Josh VanMeter and asked, “When was the last time you caught?”

That was the first time VanMeter recognized that he was the team’s emergency backup catcher.

On Saturday, Andrew Knapp started behind the plate against the Nationals. Pérez spent some time in the coaching room before the game and later had his left leg wrapped while playing tag on the field. Manager Derek Shelton said it was too early to say if Pérez would be placed on the injured list, but Perez’s mobility was an encouraging sign he would be fine.

The Pirates — and VanMeter — spooked in the first inning when Knapp’s catch hand made contact with Josh Bell’s backswing. Knapp was checked out by the physical coach and stayed in the game.

VanMeter hopes his promotion from utilityman to second-string catcher doesn’t last long.

“I was 14 or 15 the last time I caught it,” VanMeter said. “I went into a little kneeling pose last night to show (Kelly) I can get into the pose, so it’s good. I hope it doesn’t come to that. But if you do, I guess I’m the guy. What we learned in the first week of the 2022 season – The Athletic

Olly Dawes

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