Shoppach contributing more than just offense

Shoppach contributing more than just offense

ST LOUIS -- Kelly Shoppach is just what the doctor ordered for the young Mets pitching staff.

Shoppach, acquired from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named on Aug. 14, has not only provided some key hits, but he has also brought some veteran insight to the Mets' young hurlers.

The 32-year-old catcher was hitting .353 with two homers and five RBIs in nine games with the Mets entering Monday. Shoppach triggered a ninth-inning rally with a two-run single in a 5-3 win at Miami on Saturday. He also tied a season high with three hits on Aug. 28.

But according to manager Terry Collins, Shoppach's most important contribution comes in his ability to handle young pitchers. "I like the way he calls a game," Collins said. "He's done a good job."

Collins says Shoppach has a great track record with youthful hurlers from his days in Cleveland and Tampa Bay.

"Anybody who played in Tampa Bay, with all of those young pitchers coming up there, you've got to know how to work them, you have to know their strengths and weaknesses," he said. "He's continued that over here with our guys."

Shoppach threw out 15 of 41 attempted basestealers last year in Tampa Bay, the second-best total in the Majors.