Thole Back On Track

BUFFALO, NY - The start to the 2010 season did not go as planned for Bisons catcher Josh Thole. But that all changed starting in early May and since Thole is back to the on-base machine that raised his stock so much a year ago. Some time on the big league bench and a week missed due to injury have cleared his cobwebs and now Thole is back in rhythm.

It's been an interesting season thus far for Bisons catcher Josh Thole. After a devastating early season slump, Thole got the call up to New York but didn't see one at-bat in his one-week stay with the Mets. He was quickly re-assigned to Buffalo when Henry Blanco returned from injury.

The week Thole spent on the bench with the big club, however, may have been just what the doctor ordered. Getting a chance to rest and re-focus was a key in his turn-around.

"It was nice to get a little bit of a break so I could step back, relax and sort of gather myself," Thole said. "I could figure out what was going wrong and it always helps [the body] to be able to rest a little bit."

In the month of May with the Bisons, Thole hit .323 with nine doubles and raised his on-base percentage almost 200 points.

June has been even better for the 23-year-old backstop. Through six games in the month, Thole is hitting .444 in 18 at-bats.

Thole hasn't changed his routine and believes he just has had a few breaks here and there to get him back on the right track. Just getting a few balls through the hole is enough to get things going and it changes the whole complexion of a player's mental approach.

In a game on June 14 against Lehigh Valley, Thole went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a home run and a walk in a rare victory for the Herd as of late. His performance in the game is a snapshot of how well he has played during the past month. "It was nice to get the win," Thole said. "We've been in a rut so to get out of it is pretty exciting."

The Bisons have been struggling as of late and have dropped their last eight games. The loss of home run monster Mike Hessman to a hand contusion and the .385 batting average of recently promoted outfielder Jesus Feliciano has slowed down the previously potent Buffalo line-up.

In a game against Syracuse in early June, Thole was forced to leave the game after being hit in the head with a bat on the back swing of a SkyChief. He would miss one week but came back even stronger than before.

"[Josh is] starting to swing the bat well," said Bisons manager Ken Oberkfell after the 7-6 victory. "What's nice is that he is turning on the ball inside and he's hitting the ball well the other way. It's been good to see Josh hitting the ball well, he is catching well and really doing a nice job."

Although Thole has improved his statistics, he admits it's hard to enjoy the success when his team is struggling.

"I've just been going about my daily work every day and trying to stay consistent," Thole said. "It's tough when you're not winning because you don't really look in the mirror everyday and say ‘I'm playing well'. When you're not winning you don't really feel like you are [playing well]."

With so much movement within the organization, Thole's production has gone from a nice addition to a must have every day on the diamond. He has really stepped up and embraced the role in the absence of his teammates.

"[Hessman] goes down and guys have to pick up and fill his shoes," Thole said. "Obviously I am not going to hit balls as far as him but I have to try and get on base for guys behind me."

Most players would be frustrated having to watch fellow teammates get to live their dream and get the call up to the major leagues but not Thole.

"It's great when you have guys going up to the big leagues," Thole said. "It's exciting and you never know. You are always one call away."

The call could be coming sooner rather than later of Thole continues to produce at the plate like he has been. In the meantime, he is happy to help the Bisons win games and share in the success of his teammates.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nIt's been an interesting season thus far for Bisons catcher Josh Thole. After a devastating early season slump, Thole got the call up to New York but didn't see one at-bat in his one-week stay with the Mets. He was quickly re-assigned to Buffalo when Henry Blanco returned from injury.
\r\n
\r\nThe week Thole spent on the bench with the big club, however, may have been just what the doctor ordered. Getting a chance to rest and re-focus was a key in his turn-around.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was nice to get a little bit of a break so I could step back, relax and sort of gather myself,\" Thole said. \"I could figure out what was going wrong and it always helps [the body] to be able to rest a little bit.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn the month of May with the Bisons, Thole hit .323 with nine doubles and raised his on-base percentage almost 200 points.
\r\n
\r\nJune has been even better for the 23-year-old backstop. Through six games in the month, Thole is hitting .444 in 18 at-bats.
\r\n
\r\nThole hasn't changed his routine and believes he just has had a few breaks here and there to get him back on the right track. Just getting a few balls through the hole is enough to get things going and it changes the whole complexion of a player's mental approach.
\r\n
\r\nIn a game on June 14 against Lehigh Valley, Thole went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a home run and a walk in a rare victory for the Herd as of late. His performance in the game is a snapshot of how well he has played during the past month.\r\n\"It was nice to get the win,\" Thole said. \"We've been in a rut so to get out of it is pretty exciting.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe Bisons have been struggling as of late and have dropped their last eight games. The loss of home run monster Mike Hessman to a hand contusion and the .385 batting average of recently promoted outfielder Jesus Feliciano has slowed down the previously potent Buffalo line-up.
\r\n
\r\nIn a game against Syracuse in early June, Thole was forced to leave the game after being hit in the head with a bat on the back swing of a SkyChief. He would miss one week but came back even stronger than before.
\r\n
\r\n\"[Josh is] starting to swing the bat well,\" said Bisons manager Ken Oberkfell after the 7-6 victory. \"What's nice is that he is turning on the ball inside and he's hitting the ball well the other way. It's been good to see Josh hitting the ball well, he is catching well and really doing a nice job.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlthough Thole has improved his statistics, he admits it's hard to enjoy the success when his team is struggling.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've just been going about my daily work every day and trying to stay consistent,\" Thole said. \"It's tough when you're not winning because you don't really look in the mirror everyday and say ‘I'm playing well'. When you're not winning you don't really feel like you are [playing well].\"
\r\n
\r\nWith so much movement within the organization, Thole's production has gone from a nice addition to a must have every day on the diamond. He has really stepped up and embraced the role in the absence of his teammates.
\r\n
\r\n\"[Hessman] goes down and guys have to pick up and fill his shoes,\" Thole said. \"Obviously I am not going to hit balls as far as him but I have to try and get on base for guys behind me.\"
\r\n
\r\nMost players would be frustrated having to watch fellow teammates get to live their dream and get the call up to the major leagues but not Thole.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's great when you have guys going up to the big leagues,\" Thole said. \"It's exciting and you never know. You are always one call away.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe call could be coming sooner rather than later of Thole continues to produce at the plate like he has been. In the meantime, he is happy to help the Bisons win games and share in the success of his teammates.
\r\n
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