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Manuel has Thole catch Dickey again

Josh Thole was hitting over .500 entering Thursday

Josh Thole was hitting over .500 entering Thursday night's game, so Jerry Manuel was comfortable sacrificing defense for offense. Photo Credit: Kathy Kmonicek

SAN FRANCISCO - The Mets returned from the All-Star break Thursday still carrying three catchers on their roster, and Jerry Manuel even started rookie Josh Thole behind the plate for R.A. Dickey.

It was a curious move, especially with veterans Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco available. Thole has done a good job catching knuckleballer Dickey, but Manuel obviously wants Thole to remain on the roster for his offensive ability now that Barajas and Blanco have cooled at the plate.

What Manuel is running into now is the same problem he faced with Jenrry Mejia - possibly hurting the development of a young prospect by not giving him consistent playing time. It's a gamble that Manuel is comfortable taking, with Thole batting .529 (9-for-17), including .800 (4-for-5) as a pinch hitter.

"What I have to do is I have to justify a young catcher being here," Manuel said. "When he continues to get those big hits, regardless of if he's playing or not, it helps us at the major-league level."

Tatis has surgery

The Mets made room for Carlos Beltran by placing Fernando Tatis on the 60-day disabled list after he had shoulder surgery Wednesday. Tatis had his labrum repaired and the AC joint cleaned out, as he apparently never healed from the shoulder injury suffered when he dived for a fly ball near the end of the 2008 season.

Extra bases

Manuel said Barajas will catch the next two games against the Giants, with Blanco behind the plate for Sunday's series finale . . . Luis Castillo, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout yesterday for Class A St. Lucie, could return to the Mets as early as the end of next week when the Mets visit Los Angeles . . . Oliver Perez will make his fifth rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Buffalo.

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