August 2010

Call an ambulence, Josh Thole is blocking the plate

Josh Thole still clearly remembers the first time he ever experienced a play at the plate — and he should.

tholecatcher.JPGHe ended up in the hospital.

“It was just a typical bang-bang play at home plate,” Thole said. “The guy had all the leverage in the world on me. I caught the ball and he hit me. Obviously, I didn’t hold onto the ball.”

It happened in the Gulf Coast League in 2005, during the natural first baseman’s first season as a professional — and his first experience as a catcher. So shaken was Thole that the GCL Mets sent him to the hospital with neck pain. Then, on the drive back from Jupiter, Fla., to Port St. Lucie, the team bus swung by the emergency ward to pick him up.

“I had the worst headache in the world,” Thole said, laughing. “Welcome to pro ball.”

In the five years since, Thole has made significant strides behind the plate — to the point that he looked like a natural making three putouts in Wednesday’s game against the Marlins. And though Thole has worked hard on his footwork and fundamentals, nothing has helped him more than experiencing those situations in games.

“You can practice what you have to — catching the ball, anticipating a hit, working on your tags,” Thole said. “But when it becomes game speed, it happens so fast. It’s no fun.”

Have Mets questions? Have them answered.

It’s that time again. If you have a question you’d like to see answered on Mets.com, email it ASAP to metsinbox@gmail.com with your full name and hometown. Proper grammar and punctuation help your chances of seeing your question answered. Insightful, original questions help your chances even more.

Have at it.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Reports: The sun will come out, Minaya will remain GM

Mets general manager Omar Minaya received some public support from principal owner Fred Wilpon today. Asked by a New York Port reporter at a function in Connecticut if Minaya would remain GM next season, Wilpon quipped: “Is the sun going to come up tomorrow?”

That’s hardly a ringing endorsement for Minaya, whose actual power within the restraints of a reportedly tight budget has come under scrutiny in recent weeks — most notably when the Mets stood pat at last month’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. But it was, if nothing else, an indication that the Mets are not looking to do anything drastic in the coming weeks or months — at least not within the front office.

Minaya is under contract through the 2012 season at more than $1 million per year.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Jose Reyes and the launch of a promising acting career

A light moment for the Mets this afternoon, when Jose Reyes and his teammates noticed an old SportsCenter commercial playing on a clubhouse television:

Reyes said he filmed the commercial back in 2007 — no dreadlocks back then — and laughed when he recalled it.

“I had to teach that guy how to dance,” Reyes said, referring to ESPN anchor Karl Ravech.

Seems Reyes may have a job waiting for him when his baseball career is over.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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