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Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Shoppach sizzling since trade

By Keith Schildroth

There is no magic theory for a hitter when he is traded from the American League to the National League.

Mets catcher Kelly Shoppach is trying to keep his approach at the plate simple, and the results have been positive. He is hitting .303 (10-for-33) in 11 games since arriving on Aug. 14 in a trade with Boston for a player to be named later.

"More or less it's been not knowing the pitchers, so it really simplifies what I'm trying to do," Shoppach said. "Ultimately it can be better. Sometimes I can out-think myself, especially being a catcher, and get myself into trouble. (But) it's been a really simple game plan going in, not having faced most of these guys."

Shoppach, who has three home runs and nine RBIs, homered to deep left field off Cards starter Joe Kelly in the series opener on Monday.

"I got a really good look at it, a curve ball out over the plate," Shoppach said. "Actually the first pitch was the exact same pitch. I felt like I was seeing him pretty good."

Shoppach is comfortable learning to take the responsibility of handling a pitching staff.

"You have to adapt quick," Shoppach said. "It's most important for me to get to know their personalities and how they tick. They all have good stuff, or they wouldn't be here. I'm trying to figure out what they need from me in competition to kind of get them back on track and learning their pitches as you catch them and get in game experiences with them."

He will most likely be on the bench Wednesday when knuckleball ace R.A. Dickey closes the series. Catcher Josh Thole has worked with Dickey the entire season.

"I haven't caught Dickey but he's having a incredible year," Shoppach said. "I've caught him on the side and in some warmups in between innings. Catching that knuckleball is definitely a challenge. I can only imagine what it would be like to hit."

Base Gate: The day after first-base umpire Dave Rackley called Andres Torres out for missing first base with an apparent leadoff double in the ninth inning, Mets manager Terry Collins was still unsure if Torres had touched the bag. He watched several replays.

"Inconclusive," Collins said, when asked if he saw anything different from Monday. "I saw all of the angles and it's pretty hard to for me to say that 100 percent he touched it or 100 percent he didn't touch it. That's my take."

Former Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, out of the Cards' lineup with a knee injury and taking batting practice during the game, was listening to the game and heard announcer Mike Shannon say that Torres looked to have missed the bag, Collins said. Beltran then told Cards manager Mike Matheny.

"He's is the one that tipped them off, but he heard it because they were blasting it on TV," Collins said of Beltran. "He was the delivery boy."

Wall Banger: Torres paid the price for making the defensive play of the game on Monday when he made a terrific grab over his left shoulder and he then ran into the wall. He had a knot on his forehead after the game, but was back in the lineup Tuesday.

"I hit it pretty hard but I'm OK," said Torres. "I hit the wall with my knee pretty good, too."