CINCINNATI -- With their catchers' offensive production lagging well below league average, the Mets on Tuesday acquired Kelly Shoppach off waivers from the Red Sox for a player to be named.
Shoppach, 32, hit .250 with five home runs, 12 doubles and 17 RBIs in 48 games for Boston, starting often behind the plate against left-handed pitchers. His career OPS against lefties is .894, compared to .656 against righties -- making him an ideal complement to incumbent backstop Josh Thole.
For that reason, manager Terry Collins indicated that at least initially, he will platoon his two catchers.
"I think that's probably one of the reasons why we got him," Collins said of Shoppach, referring to "the damage he can do against left-handers."
Without Shoppach, New York's catchers have done little against all comers over the first four-plus months of the season, entering Tuesday's play with a collective .588 OPS, fourth worst in baseball. The team recently demoted Thole's backup, Mike Nickeas, to Triple-A Buffalo after he produced a .469 OPS over 101 at-bats, the third-lowest mark of anyone in baseball with that many reps.
Nickeas' replacement, Rob Johnson, has fared only slightly better, making him the likely roster casualty when the Mets activate Shoppach in time for Wednesday's game.
In any case, the acquisition creates something of a crossroads for Thole, whose salary has the potential to skyrocket when he becomes arbitration-eligible after this season. To date, the Mets have endured Thole's sagging offense in part because of his potential, and in part because of his negligible salary. With the latter imminently set to increase, Thole must start producing more consistently to retain his job.
"I think when he first got here, everybody thought he was going to hit, and hit a lot," Collins said. "But he puts the bat on the ball. We knew he would. You wish he'd hit for a little more power, because he can. He's got some. But he's also one of those kinds of guys that his value is not striking out, putting the bat on the ball. That's who he is and what got him here, over trying to hit the ball in the seats."
Collins considering using six-man rotation
CINCINNATI -- Though Terry Collins recently decided not to use R.A. Dickey regularly on short rest down the stretch, that has not precluded the Mets manager from "burning up some pads and paper" in his continued search for a better starting pitching model.
The result of his machinations? Collins said Tuesday that he is considering moving to a six-man rotation in an effort to give Chris Young's and Johan Santana's surgically-repaired shoulders some extra rest.
"We're trying to figure out if that's going to help those guys out," Collins said. "When are we going to do it? I don't know."
Having swingman Jeremy Hefner pitch every sixth game, Collins said, would afford extra rest for both Young and Santana, who are playing out their first seasons following major shoulder surgeries. It would also allow the Mets to give extra rest to lefty Jon Niese, who has suffered either injuries or significant declines in performance in each of the past three Septembers; and to right-hander Matt Harvey, who is on a hard cap of 165-170 innings in his rookie season.
But not everyone is sold. Collins warned that such an unorthodox move could also throw off the rhythms of Niese and Dickey, who have both been pitching well. And it could potentially cost Dickey a start or two in his quest to win 20 games, or even the National League Cy Young Award.
So Collins will talk it over, continue putting pen to paper and look to see how Young and Santana perform this week. Then he will decide.
"There's a lot of variables to putting an extra guy in there," Collins said. "You stretch their rest time, and I'm not sure how it's going to affect some guys."
Mets to host blood drive Saturday at Citi Field
CINCINNATI -- The Mets will host a blood drive this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET in the Caesar's Club at Citi Field. Donors can enter the ballpark through the Hodges VIP Entrance and park in Lot G, and are encouraged to schedule an appointment in advance by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, or by visiting redcrossblood.org and using reference sponsor code 16064nyp.
All donors will receive a complimentary pair of tickets to the Monday, Sept. 17 game between the Mets and Phillies at Citi Field, and they can also enter to win prizes, including a home theater system (a flat screen television, surround sound system and Blu Ray player) donated by Best Buy.
Longtime Mets public relations guru man Jay Horwitz celebrated his 67th birthday on Tuesday. Horwitz joined the team's PR department on April 1, 1980.
Double-A Binghamton lefty Mark Cohoon was named the Eastern League's Pitcher of the Week after tossing a two-hit shutout at Harrisburg on Aug. 10, with one walk and 10 strikeouts. Cohoon is 7-9 with a 4.14 ERA in 21 Minor League starts this season.