Phillies activate Domonic Brown from DL, send him to Triple-A

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Rather than keep him on a minor-league rehab assignment for his fractured hamate bone, the Phillies activated Domonic Brown from the disabled list yesterday and then optioned him to Triple-A.

That means he’ll continue to play in the minors, but will do so as a Triple-A player rather than a rehabbing big leaguer.

While perhaps not the most important distinction, the Phillies could have allowed him to rehab for another couple weeks and choosing to simply assign him to Triple-A instead stops him from accumulating MLB service time and suggests they aren’t planning to call him up to the majors any time soon.

Or as general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:

I’m not going to bring Domonic Brown up just to bring Domonic Brown. We’re going to bring Domonic Brown up when he’s ready to play in the big leagues and he’s ready to contribute.

Brown is among the elite prospects in baseball and absolutely destroyed Double-A and Triple-A pitching last season at age 22, but he struggled in sporadic action with the Phillies down the stretch and right now Ben Francisco is doing a solid job as the everyday right fielder

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.