Yesterday, former Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca appeared on Sirius XM 175 MLB Home Plate. His comments were transcribed by Adam Rubin of the Daily News and are shown below.
After missing all of 2009 with injuries, Lo Duca says he is healthy and ready to return to the game and fill whatever role the signing team needs including that of backup catcher and righthanded bat off the bench.
Paul Lo Duca: “I’m completely healthy. I feel unbelievable. I’ve been hitting the last four or five days constantly and started my workouts. I feel great. My hand feels 100 percent for the first time in a while. My hamstring and my knee finally healed after the surgery I had there. … I want to come back and play. When I started working with you guys (as a part-time analyst) and started really watching the games it really gave me that edge. My heart’s into it and I want to go back in it full bore and [do] whatever needs to be done. I want to play on a team that wants to win and wants a player that wants to win. I’ll do whatever I need to do. If it’s come off the bench, if it’s spot starts, I’ll do whatever they need me to do.”
Lo Duca: “I’m a realist. I’m going to be 37 but my knees feel good. I’ve only had one knee surgery. There’s no issues there. I really feel like I can offer a good bat off the bench to somebody and do whatever needs to be done. … Whatever they want me to do. I’ve played other positions before. If they need me to catch and if something goes down then I can do that as well. Whatever the manager asks me to do I’m willing to do.”
Lo Duca: “Whatever happens I’m looking just to get an invite. If you don’t like me when I’m walking in the clubhouse, hey, you don’t like me, go ahead and send me home. That’s fine. But I’m going to show up in great shape and ready to go. We’ll see what happens. I’m gung-ho. I’m really energetic about coming back. I feel like I still have a lot to offer.”Lo Duca hit .318 with the Mets in 2006 and even made the All Star team that season which included catching David Wright in the homerun derby. Wright and the fiery catcher were best of friends when the Mets chose not to bring him back and replaced him with Brian Schneider.
Lo Duca hit .318 with the Mets in 2006 was even elected to the All Star team that season which included catching David Wright in the homerun derby. It was the only year he was ever elected by the fans as a starter. Wright and the fiery and outspoken Lo Duca were best of friends when the Mets chose not to bring him back and replaced him with Brian Schneider.
Many believed that the organization had become turned off by Lo Duca’s criticism of the team and the effort of his teammates in 2007. Lo Duca wore his heart on his sleeve and was never one to pull punches. As a catcher he defended his pitchers to the max, and he would let an umpire know if he thought they were squeezing his batterymate.
My favorite memory of Lo Duca will always be the double play in the 2006 NLCS against the Dodgers when both outs were made at the plate.
Lo Duca had an injury plagued season in 2008 with the Nationals, which may explain his .248 average. If he is as healthy he says, I wouldn’t put another .280 type season past him. In 1,108 at-bats with runners in scoring position, Lo Duca has a .309 batting average, .330 with the bases loaded. He’s the kind of hitter who would probably have great success as a pinch hitter.
Unfortunately, there’s little to no chance that the Mets would even consider bringing Lo Duca back in a limited role, at least not while Omar Minaya is still calling the shots.