Opening Day is now 20 days away and catcher Ronny Paulino is still MIA. The worst part is the Mets still have no idea when he will arrive in camp. The delay is all because of his suspension from using illegal performance enhancing drugs and violating baseball’s policy on banned substances. He was supposed to be in camp on February 13th when all pitchers and catchers were to report to camp.
Paulino will miss the first eight games of the season due to the suspension, however, it now appears he may miss even more than the first week or two of games.
Speaking with reporters, Manager Terry Collins, is far from pleased.
“I’m concerned,” Collins said. “There’s no question about it. I’m hoping that he gets in here shortly. Obviously I don’t think it’s going to be until this weekend — hopefully this weekend. We’re going to have to do some fast work with him getting him ready to catch and get him in some games, and if we have to get him some at-bats in the minor leagues. I’m concerned right now that he’s not here.”
With an entirely new pitching staff to acquaint himself with on top of the normal routine all hitters go through in the spring, Paulino will have his work cut out for him when he does finally get here.
For a player who has been very inconsistent defensively and offensively missing all this time can’t be good. In the past, Paulino has had periods when he simply loses focus and some have said he can be very lazy at times. Throw in a career struggle with weight problems and this is starting to look more and more like a move that may turn out to be a thumbs-down rather than a thumbs up.
It may also translate into a big opportunity for Mets farmhand Mike Nickeas, who is having a good spring and batted .283 for Binghamton last season. Although not highly regarded as catching prospect, he should be good enough to be a backup for Josh Thole.