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Friday, May 06, 2011

Mets Unhappy With Thole

Josh Thole's days of being the Mets number 1 catcher seem to be coming to a close with the recent success of Ronny Paulino behind the plate. Last Night in a Mike Pelfrey win over the San Francisco Giants, Pelf praised Paulino's leadership and game calling stating that he thought Paulino was "very good back there today and he obviously deserves a lot of credit, he called a pretty good game." Pelfrey added that he and Paulino were in sync in pitch selection, "there were times when I would have the slider grip in my glove and he would put it down, and I'd be like O.K. Lets do it!" Thole who has been benched for struggling both offensively and defensively, will be back in the lineup on Friday Against the Dodgers. According to The New York Times,
Manager Terry Collins said that he was confident that Thole would break out of his catching slump and he may start playing like Johnny Bench. In that case, the Mets would go back to the platoon with Thole starting against righties. If Paulino shows success against righties and if he plays more, the Mets have to decide if they want Thole as a part-time player in the major leagues, or to temporarily go to Class AAA Buffalo to catch every day and work on his craft. The idea has been discussed within the last week. If they sent Thole down to the minors, they would likely call up Mike Nickeas, whom the Mets consider an excellent defensive catcher. But Paulino has done well, too, albeit in a brief sample.

In the last three games Paulino has started, Mets starters have allowed just three earned runs in 21 innings for a 1.29 earned run average.

Meanwhile, in addition to the problems Thole, a converted catcher, has had throwing out runners and allowing some passed balls, the Mets have been unhappy at times with some of his pitch calling. On April 6, they were dismayed when Pelfrey admitted to getting away from his two-seam fastball and taking the blame for it. The Mets were concerned at the time that he and Thole were not on the same page, and Collins spoke to both about it.

Then last Friday against the Phillies, with Ryan Howard at the plate, Thole called for a fastball from Dillon Gee, instead of his best pitch, the changeup. Howard hit the fastball for a home run. Afterward the Mets’ hierarchy was upset with both Gee and Thole for the pitch selection.

Bye Bye Josh.

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