By Evan Brunell
Josh Thole has had such a difficult time corralling R.A. Dickey's knuckleballer that he's started losing playing time to Ronny Paulino.
That poses a problem for the Mets, as Paulino is best utilized against left-handed pitchers but can't maximize his value as long as he's tied to Dickey, who can't control the pitcher he goes up against.
Dickey wanted to do a favor for the 24-year-old catcher, so phoned fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who has given him pointers in the past, to see if his former personal catcher in Doug Mirabelli would be willing to speak to Thole. Mirabelli was a big part of Wakefield's career for a long time after joining the Red Sox midway through 2001 following Jason Varitek's season-ending injury. 'Belli stuck through the 2007 season with the team save for a one-month stint in San Diego back in 2006 when the Red Sox made a panic move to re-acquire the backstop after Josh Bard failed spectacularly in taking over.
“I called him and just chatted on the phone about different things,” Thole told ESPN New York. “I told him what I feel back there and then what I can do to correct it -- make my hands softer. After I called him, I caught R.A.’s bullpen. He sent me a text, ‘Hey, how did the bullpen go?’ I have plans to stay in touch with him and let him know if things are good, bad.
“R.A. had brought it to my attention and said, ‘Hey, if you want to call Doug, Doug would be more than happy to talk to you.’”
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