Paulino finally arrives, ready to play

With his visa issues cleared up, catcher Ronny

With his visa issues cleared up, catcher Ronny Paulino finally joined the Mets in Florida. (Credit: Getty Images)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Terry Collins was pleased to hear that Ronny Paulino reported to Mets camp Saturday.

The manager is looking forward to meeting him.

Paulino, the Mets' backup catcher, finally arrived in Port St. Lucie late Friday after weeks of delay in the Dominican Republic while getting his visa approved. Paulino's paperwork was held up because of a 50-game suspension he received at the end of last season for PED use; he will sit out the first eight games of this season to finish his punishment.

The extra time Paulino will spend in Florida while the Mets open the season could be a good thing. It will give the former Pirate and Marlin a chance to get multiple at-bats in extended spring training as part of a crash course to get ready for the season.

"I was training every day down there," Paulino said. "I came here ready to go. I don't think it's going to take long. Physically, I'm ready."

Collins still hasn't met Paulino because the Mets left Port St. Lucie at 8 a.m. Saturday to play the Braves here. Paulino walked into the nearly empty Mets clubhouse at 8:03.

"I knew I was going to get here at some point," he said. "I just didn't know when. The process took longer than I thought."

Asked if he knew why it took so long, Paulino said: "I think it's just the process you had to go through by what happened last year. They had to do certain things that whoever does it had to go through that."

Paulino was referring to his failed drug test. He said at the time of his suspension that he took a weight-loss product that contained a substance he didn't know was banned by baseball.

"I learned to be very careful with everything I do from now on," he said. "You made a mistake, you learn from it. From now on, you need to be careful with everything."

Extra bases

R.A. Dickey allowed five runs (four earned) in the first two innings of the Mets' 12-0 loss, but he followed that up with three scoreless frames.

About his knuckleball, he said: "I threw some really, really good ones and I threw some grotesque ones. There were some today where I felt like I was throwing a coconut up there."

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