Collins gives struggling Thole a break

New York Mets catcher Josh Thole (30)reacts as

New York Mets catcher Josh Thole (30)reacts as he walks back to the dugout after grounding out to end the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded against the San Francisco Giants. (May 3, 2011) (Credit: Christopher Pasatieri)

A bad night turned into a tough afternoon for Josh Thole. The day after struggling behind the plate as well as hitting into a bases-loaded double play in the ninth inning, the Mets' catcher reported to work Wednesday and found out that he was not in the starting lineup.

Not only did Thole not start Wednesday night against San Francisco's Tim Lincecum, but he likely will not be behind the plate Thursday when the Mets face lefthander Jonathan Sanchez. In his place, manager Terry Collins is going with Ronny Paulino. Thole pinch hit in the ninth and struck out.

Collins told Thole he was going to give him a break. He also told him that he needed to watch what he said to the media in regard to his struggles. After the Mets' 7-6 loss to the Giants Tuesday night, Thole, who has had problems with passed balls and throwing out runners, admitted he was "tight" behind the plate.

"I saw what he said [Tuesday] night, and I said 'You cannot say that,' " Collins said. "I mean it sounds like he's lost confidence, and you can't do that in this game. He can tell me that. He can tell [bullpen coach] John Debus that. But he can't tell those guys in the other clubhouse that. So that's the issue.

"I just said to him that I know he can do it. He has to take a couple of days, relax and get ready for this weekend."

Thole seemed surprised he was not in the lineup, and said he didn't need the rest. He added that he's not the one who makes the decisions, and he would accept whatever Collins believed best.

"He's the boss. You never go there with that kind of attitude," Thole said when asked if he had told Collins he didn't think he needed a break. "He's writing the lineup. I told him I'd be ready to go whenever. If he needs me to catch, hit, pinch run, I'll be ready to do that."

Thole, a converted catcher, has seven passed balls, the most in the National League. Collins said he first noticed about a week ago that he was having some defensive problems.

"It all goes back to him trying to do too much," Collins said. "One little problem can lead to two. I told him today, 'look we've just got to go back to square one and do the basics -- catch the baseball, try to react.' "

Thole worked extra in the cage with Debus before the game and plans to do more work. Collins is confident he will quickly get on track.

Said Collins: "For me, He's an overachiever. Overachievers bleed confidence. It's part of their nature. So I said, 'I know you can do it. You know you can do it. You've done it. You've shown it. Now, let's go back to square one and work at it.' "

advertisement | advertise on newsday

MLB video

advertisement | advertise on newsday