VIERA, Fla. -- Mets backup catcher Ronny Paulino is grappling with stomach and colon issues and may spend time on the disabled list next month.
Though the Mets are awaiting followup test results on Paulino's blood work, initial diagnostics revealed the aforementioned stomach and colon issues. Paulino still has eight games remaining on the 50-game drug suspension he received last season, and general manager Sandy Alderson said it's "very possible" Paulino could hit the disabled list thereafter.
Initially, at least, the Mets will proceed with Mike Nickeas as Josh Thole's primary backup at catcher. If Paulino's issues keep him sidelined for a significant period of time, the team could eventually look outside the organization for catching help.
"We anticipated having Nickeas as our backup the first eight games, so we'll see how that goes," Alderson said. "Right now, we're not anxious about it."
Paulino, 29, signed a one-year, $1.3 million deal this winter to serve as a backup and possible right-handed platoon-mate for Thole. Reporting to camp nearly a month late due to visa issues in his native Dominican Republic, Paulino appeared in seven Grapefruit League games before team doctors found an irregularity in his blood work and shut him down indefinitely.