Sunday, May 22, 2011
Over his last 31 games, he has recorded three extra-base hits. Over his last 17 games, he has one.
As a result, Thole is no longer the Mets' unquestioned starting catcher. Manager Terry Collins said on Sunday morning that he plans to give Ronny Paulino a string of consecutive starts at the position, in large part to give Thole time to clear his head and work on his swing.
"I thought about it last night, thought about it this morning," Collins said on Sunday. "Josh is still going to play. He's still going to get a number of at-bats. I just want to make sure we try to keep them both as sharp as possible."
There is reason to believe that Paulino, a career .274 hitter with staggering numbers against left-handed pitchers, can give the Mets some additional pop with sluggers David Wright and Ike Davis both on the disabled list. So far this season, Paulino has been playing only against lefties and, more recently, on days that Mike Pelfrey was the team's starting pitcher, such as on Sunday.
But Paulino will become the first-string catcher for this week's games in Chicago, despite the fact that the Cubs plan to deploy right-handed starters on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We've talked about it and talked about it, so we're going to play him a couple days and give him some consistent at-bats," Collins said.