To make room on the roster, the Mets optioned catcher Rob Johnson to Triple-A Buffalo, where Thole caught nine innings Thursday and went 1-for-4.
It was one of only two rehab games for Thole, who landed on the DL May 8 after sustaining a concussion during a collision at home plate with Phillies infielder Ty Wigginton. He hit .284 with one home run and seven RBIs in 26 games before the injury, and manager Terry Collins said Thole will start at least three of this weekend's four games against St. Louis.
Mike Nickeas remains as Thole's backup, while Johnson returns to Buffalo, where he started the season before Thole's injury. Johnson hit .313 in 11 games in New York.
"Rob played very well here, but with bringing Josh back, we want to make sure our catching stays as strong as it can be, so we wanted him to play," Collins said. "We don't want him sitting on the bench five days a week. I thought one of the reasons he played so well was he got playing time here. With Josh back, he's not going to get much."