Having a close relationship with Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey may have helped Mater Dei High graduate Josh Thole get back to the major leagues, but more important were the impressive offensive numbers Thole was putting up in the minors.
Thole was recalled from Class AAA Buffalo last week after hitting .322 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 41 games. The 26-year-old served as the knuckleballing Dickey's personal catcher when both players were with the New York Mets.
The Blue Jays even traded for Thole in the offseason in the same deal in which they acquired Dickey, perhaps hoping the success between the two would continue. Instead, Toronto kept veteran catcher Henry Blanco to start the season and he hit .184 in limited action before being replaced on the Blue Jays roster by Thole.
Toronto's starting catcher has been J.R. Arencibia, but his defense has been erratic at times. Arencibia is hitting .220 with 12 homers and 30 RBIs.
How quickly can Thole and Dickey regain the magic they shared with the Mets?
"Regardless of how long you've done it, there's still that re-acclimation to the movement, to the depth, to the lateness of the pitch that is different," Dickey told MLB.com. "I'm sure it'll be like riding a bicycle for him. He's really good at it."
Dickey was 20-6 last season, but has struggled in the American League with a 5-7 record in 13 starts with a 4.66 ERA.
Thole played in two games with the Blue Jays before Monday ad was 0-for-5 with one walk. He hit .234 in 104 games with the Mets last season with 15 doubles, one home run and 21 RBIs.