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Friday, August 31, 2012
Mets backtrack on Thole experiment

By Walter Villa

MIAMI -- Mets manager Terry Collins made an interesting comment/admission regarding catcher Josh Thole in the lead-up to Friday night’s game against the Marlins.

Collins said that once Thole’s batting average started to dip, the Mets’ coaching staff asked him to try to pull the ball a bit more in an effort to be more productive.

Now, Collins said, the Mets are backtracking with Thole.

“We’re trying to get him to re-establish his swing from two years ago,” Collins said. “We want him to shorten his swing, shorten up on the bat, have less violent a swing.”

Collins said Thole wasn’t comfortable trying to pull pitches and got into some bad habits.

After hitting .321 in 17 games in 2009 and .277 in 73 games as a rookie in 2010, Thole hit a still-solid .268 last season. His on-base percentage from ’09 to ’11 was between .345 and .357.

Entering Friday night, Thole’s batting average was .238 and his on-base was .298, both career lows. And the attempt at more power has backfired because his slugging percentage of .292 is also a career low.