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Manuel keeps Thole, creates three-catcher rotation

New York Mets pinch hitter Josh Thole (30)

New York Mets pinch hitter Josh Thole (30) hits and RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves. (July 11, 2010) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

PHOENIX - With the Mets' decision to keep Josh Thole, up next for manager Jerry Manuel is figuring out a three-catcher rotation that works for everyone involved.

Manuel revealed his tentative plan before last night's series finale, when he decided to start Rod Barajas over the red-hot Thole, who was batting .500 (12-for-24) and hit his first major-league homer Tuesday night. As for Barajas, he was batting .153 (13-for-85) in his last 24 games with two RBIs since June 1.

"I think Rod is a guy that we need to get back right and in order to do that he has to be out there," Manuel said. "Hopefully we can see some life back in that bat again. That's what we need to do.

"I think the game-calling and all that stuff, he's done a tremendous job bringing the pitching staff along. That was the plan all along so we're going to try to stay with that as long as we can."

Manuel's plan is to use Henry Blanco behind the plate for Johan Santana, Thole for R.A. Dickey and then Barajas for the remaining three out of five days.

"That should keep [Barajas] kind of fresh," Manuel said. "I think that's good for Henry as well. I think Henry is at that stage where maybe one or two times a week he can still be somewhat productive."

No move for Beltran

Even after Carlos Beltran's inability to track down a catchable ball Tuesday night - it turned into a run-scoring triple for Gerardo Parra - Manuel said he has not wavered in his decision to keep Beltran in centerfield.

"Now if you say, let's get you to rightfield, that's a whole different angle," Manuel said. "So there's another time period of transitioning there as well, something that he has never done in his career. I don't see him limping at all. I don't see that. So what that tells me is that he's not necessarily reading it correctly off the bat.

"And that's his position, that's where he's normally played. That's just a matter of being out there. To take that into rightfield, I think it kind of compounds it at this point."

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