Catcher Kelly Shoppach was acquired Tuesday by the New York Mets from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named following a waiver claim.
The 32-year-old Shoppach is hitting .250 with five homers, 12 doubles and 17 RBI in 48 games this year. He was signed by Boston as a free agent last December after spending the previous two season with Tampa Bay.
The Mets wanted the right-handed batter for his power against left-handed pitchers, manager Terry Collins said. According to baseball-reference.com, Shoppach has just 492 at-bats against left-handed pitchers in his career, but he has hit 31 home runs. He has 33 homers in 936 career at-bats against righties.
”He’s going to catch against left-handers,” Collins said. ”One of the reasons we got him is the damage he can do against left-handers.”
Josh Thole, hitting .260 with one home run and 18 RBIs, was benched twice during the weekend series against Atlanta in favor of Rob Johnson.
Even though Shoppach and Johnson both bat right-handed, the Mets are pondering a possible platoon situation next year, Collins said.
”We’ll take a look at him the last six weeks and see how he fits,” the manager said. ”This guy will add power to the lineup, which will help.”
Boston manager Bobby Valentine said simply, ”Kelly was claimed by the Mets. He was having a nice season for us and now he will finish with the Mets.”
Ryan Lavarnway started at catcher for the Red Sox on Tuesday night against the Orioles.
”Kelly was a great teammate,” Lavarnway said. ”I tried to learn from him what I could while he was here. Now it’s time for me to step up and take the reins. Coming to the park expecting to play on a regular basis will be nice.”
In another move, the Red Sox activated right-hander reliever Andrew Bailey from the 60-day disabled list. Bailey has been sidelined the entire season after undergoing surgery on his right thumb. Valentine said Bailey, a closer with Oakland in each of the three previous seasons, would initially be used late in games but not necessarily in the ninth inning.
Boston began play Tuesday in fourth place in the AL East with a 57-59 record and 11 1/2 games behind the division-leading Yankees.
”I’m glad to be here and can’t wait to get out there,” Bailey said. ”I have no expectations whatsoever. We’re at a point and time where we have to start winning ballgames. Everyone knows that. Whenever he calls upon me I’ll go out there and pitch.”