Bruce Bochy: “Hard to put a target date” on Barry Zito’s return

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Barry Zito is off crutches two weeks after being placed on the disabled list with a sprained foot, but manager Bruce Bochy said yesterday that it’s “hard to put a target date” on his potential return.

Chris Haft of MLB.com reports that Zito was examined Wednesday by a foot specialist and is no longer forced to wear a protective boot, but “cannot yet put full weight on his injured foot.”

According to Bochy he won’t be cleared to resume throwing until fully participating in workouts for at least one week, which means Zito is likely still at least three weeks from possibly rejoining the Giants’ rotation. For now Ryan Vogelsong has replaced him.

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.