Who’s the Third Catcher?
So far this spring, both new backstop Brian Schneider and backup Ramon Castro have been hampered by hamstring issues. I can tell you from first-hand experience (25+ years in fact) that this is a big problem for a catcher.
By the nature of their squatting position, catchers tend to build up extremely large, strong, powerful front thigh (quadriceps) muscles — ask my wife how hard it is for me to find pants that fit properly. As a result, it’s common for a catcher’s legs to develop an imbalance between their front and back muscles; hence, the back thighs or hamstring muscles are susceptible to injury. And as we all know, hamstring injuries have a habit of becoming chronic.
This doesn’t bode well for the Mets, who have effectively no one behind Schneider and Castro — other than Raul Casanova and Robinson Cancel. Casanova had one fabulous year (2001) as a part-timer, banging 11 homers in 191 ABs, but otherwise has been a third-stringer in a game that rarely carries such luxuries. Cancel is OK, not great, as is Gustavo Molina. All three are acceptable, but I don’t see any starting for the Mets on a regular basis.
The catching situation could cause the Mets to re-investigate a deal for Gerald Laird of the Rangers — though he’s likely unavailable — or pick up a “name” veteran. Doug Mirabelli was recently released by the Red Sox, and Javy Lopez might be considered if he doesn’t break camp with the Braves. But no, I don’t see Mike Piazza returning.
Once again, how nice would it have been to see Mike Sweeney — who is open to catching again — in a Mets uniform right about now?