Results tagged ‘ Josh Thole ’
A new day brings new names. The R.A. Dickey deal currently on the table, according to the New York Post, would net the Mets right-handed pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, in addition to catchers Travis d’Arnaud and John Buck and another as-yet unnamed prospect. The Mets would give up Dickey, Josh Thole and a non-elite prospect.
So let’s take a look at Syndergaard, as we did yesterday for d’Arnaud. Again, click to launch the 2012 MLB.com Prospect Watch page:
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The Mets are set to sign former Marlins and Pirates catcher Ronny Paulino to back up Josh Thole, according to a report on ESPN.com. But a New York Post report later refuted that, indicating that the Mets are “working through a list” of free-agent catcher candidates.
Paulino, 29, hit .259 last season, missing the final 42 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. He will need to sit out the first eight games of next season to complete the suspension.
The Mets had considered signing a more experienced catcher to back up and mentor the 24-year-old Thole, but opted instead for Paulino, a veteran of five full big league seasons.
Josh Thole still clearly remembers the first time he ever experienced a play at the plate — and he should.
“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.”