Currently on the disabled list as part of his now two-year recovery from shoulder surgery, Brandon Webb threw 65 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday and is hoping to pitch a simulated game Monday.
Webb expressed some optimism following yesterday’s session, telling Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com that his “breaking ball and changeup were good, movement was excellent. It was good, the best one so far.”
Assuming he avoids a setback during the simulated game Webb’s next step would likely be a minor-league rehab assignment at Double-A, according to Watkins. Joining the Rangers’ rotation in May remains a best-case scenario for the former Cy Young winner.
The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.
Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.
While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.