Jeff Suppan returns to Royals on a minor league contract

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Released by the Giants near the end of spring training Jeff Suppan has found a new home with the Royals, signing a minor-league contract today.

Suppan pitched for Kansas City from 1998 to 2002, going from journeyman to consistent 200-inning starter during that time, and also knows current Royals manager Ned Yost from their days together with the Brewers. However, he’s now 36 years old and a long way from a dependable innings eater. He’ll join the rotation at Triple-A.

Milwaukee released Suppan in the middle of last season, eating around $8 million in salary, and after latching on with St. Louis he finished 3-8 with a 5.06 ERA in 101 innings overall. This spring he had a 5.50 ERA in 18 innings, allowing 12 runs while managing just five strikeouts, and Suppan hasn’t had an ERA better than the league average since 2007.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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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.