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Nickeas called up to fill Beltran's spot

New York Mets catcher Mike Nickeas (13) reacts

New York Mets catcher Mike Nickeas (13) reacts after hitting his first Major League home run in the bottom of the third inning against the Houston Astros. (April 21, 2011) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

CINCINNATI -- Whatever is at work in the way the Mets have responded to the loss of All-Star Carlos Beltran, there was no fiery speech from manager Terry Collins.

"I tell you, I didn't say a word," Collins said. "And there was no need to say anything. We've still got [two] more days left before the trading deadline; we don't know what's going to happen. I guess it means a lot that they knew this was coming and it wasn't a letdown."

Collins has preached that his job is to use and develop the players he has, and Thursday he welcomed 28-year-old catcher Mike Nickeas, called up from Triple-A Buffalo, to fill Beltran's roster spot. "That frees up those other two [catchers] to hit," Collins said. "Certainly, it frees up Ronny [Paulino] to be used as a pinch hitter , instead of trying to wait until late in the game.

"Same thing when Josh isn't playing, I'll be able to bring that lefthanded bat off the bench."

Collins also insisted he is thoroughly comfortable using Nickeas behind the plate. "He can catch anybody," Collins said. "Mike calls an outstanding game, he's an outstanding defensive catcher. I have no problem having any of these guys throwing to him."


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