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Terry Collins turns to Mike Baxter as emergency catcher

Pinch hitter Mike Baxter #23 of the New

Pinch hitter Mike Baxter #23 of the New York Mets hits a eighth inning two-run double against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. (April 25, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

HOUSTON — The Mets played Tuesday night’s 6-3 loss to the Astros without a true backup catcher as Mike Nickeas was KO’d by the flu bug.

Nickeas was told to stay at the team hotel, but he decided to come to the ballpark. He apparently spent a lot of time in the trainer’s room. Lucas Duda has also been felled by the bug. He did not start in the first two games of this series but pinch hit in both.

As of 4 p.m., manager Terry Collins had no idea who his emergency catcher would be if Josh Thole were to get injured. Less than an hour later, he announced it would be outfielder Mike Baxter, who was also Collins’ choice to be an emergency pitcher on Friday in Denver.

Baxter wasn’t called in to pitch on Friday and didn’t have to squat for real Tuesday night. He was chosen because he once caught games in the instructional league when he was in the San Diego organization. In 2008.

Baxter, the Queens native, planned to catch a bullpen session before the game. But Thole said the only thing that would get him out of the game was “a limb falling off.”

The Mets decided not to fly in another catcher before Wednesday's game.

Extra bases

Mike Pelfrey had successful Tommy John elbow surgery in Gulf Breeze, Fla. He will be out at least a year.

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