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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Thole may be headed for the bench

By Kieran Darcy

After another rough day behind the plate, Mets catcher Josh Thole may see some more time on the pine in the near future.

When asked following the Mets' 7-6 10-inning loss to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night whether he might consider playing backup catcher Ronny Paulino for a stretch of games coming up, manager Terry Collins said, "That's a possibility. And not just that, but to also maybe let Josh have a chance to clear his head a little bit."

"I don't feel like I need a mental blow," Thole said, when informed of Collins' comments. "I mean, it's only May. Geez. I better not be asking for days [off]."

Thole, 24, and in his first full year as a major-league starting catcher, has had some struggles defensively so far this season. On Tuesday night, with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey starting for the Mets, Thole had a couple balls get by him, which allowed runners to advance. The Giants were also 3-for-3 on stolen base attempts, and Thole had a throwing error on one of those throws.

"We've gotta do a better job for sure," Collins said. "We're gonna get him out and do some receiving stuff [before Wednesday's game]."

When asked how he feels defensively right now, Thole said, "I feel all right. I'm a little hard right now, as far as the receving part goes. So I'm gonna do some work on the machine tomorrow, I think that would be the best for me.

"Just get used to slowing my eyes down, tracking the ball a little bit. It's just a matter of relaxing, that's the bottom line. You get a couple guys on base, you get tight a little bit. So I gotta get away from that."

We'll see what happens on Wednesday night, but don't be surprised if it's Paulino behind the plate, catching Chris Capuano.