Thole gets advice from ex-Sox catcher

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Doug Mirabelli (left) successfully caught knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (right) with the Red Sox, so R.A. Dickey put Mirabelli in touch with Josh Thole.

Doug Mirabelli was paired with Tim Wakefield for 1,012 innings, more than double the duty of any other catcher in the knuckleballer’s 19 major league seasons.

And R.A. Dickey honed his knuckleball with advice from Wakefield.

So Dickey decided to ask Wakefield if Mirabelli, who last appeared in the majors in 2007 with the Boston Red Sox, would be willing to speak with Josh Thole and offer pointers. Mirabelli was more than willing to assist, and recently spoke with Thole by phone.

“I called him and just chatted on the phone about different things,” Thole said. “I told him what I feel back there and then what I can do to correct it -- make my hands softer. After I called him, I caught R.A.’s bullpen. He sent me a text, ‘Hey, how did the bullpen go?’ I have plans to stay in touch with him and let him know if things are good, bad.

“R.A. had brought it to my attention and said, ‘Hey, if you want to call Doug, Doug would be more than happy to talk to you.’”

Dickey returns to the mound Saturday against the Astros, although Ronny Paulino is catching that game. Terry Collins indicated that’s because Houston will start a left-handed pitcher, J.A. Happ.