Josh Thole is back from the disabled list, returning to the Mets after missing the past 22 games with a concussion from a home plate collision on May 7.
To make room for Thole on the roster the Mets demoted Rob Johnson to Triple-A, choosing to stick with Mike Nickeas as their backup despite his lowly .169 batting average in 50 career games.
Prior to the concussion Thole hit .284 with a .356 on-base percentage and .370 slugging percentage in 26 games to essentially duplicate his solid career numbers. He lacks power, but few catchers can match his on-base skills and Thole has also thrown out 26 percent of steal attempts.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.