First base for Thole?

July, 15, 2010
Jerry Manuel said carrying three catchers may not last all that long during the second half, unless he can find ways to continue to use rookie Josh Thole. But with Rod Barajas scheduled to start Friday and Saturday and Henry Blanco slated for Sunday, the starts for Thole for now may be limited to serving as R.A. Dickey's personal catcher, as is the case Thursday night.

Manuel also floated the concept of letting Thole work out at first base while he's at the major league level, although the manager changed his statement mid-sentence and made it seem that Thole would work out there, but not actually appear in a game.

One of the reasons Thole's catching ability has been a work in progress is because he only began being primarily a catcher in the minors in May 2008. Before that, the Mets mostly used Thole at first base, including 103 games at the position in '07 with low-A Savannah.

“What I have to do is I have to justify a young catcher being here,” Manuel said. “When he continues to get those big hits, regardless if he’s playing or not, I think it helps us here at the major league level. But, at the same time, maybe if we can create some versatility, play him a little at first and see what he looks like -- not play him, but at least take balls at the position ...

"But it would be difficult for us to continue with three catchers for a long period of time. That’s what I’ll probably have to prove to the jury -- that this can work this way."
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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