Wandy Rodriguez scratched from Saturday start with discomfort in elbow

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According to Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have scratched Wandy Rodriguez from Saturday’s scheduled start against the Diamondbacks due to discomfort in his left elbow. Bud Norris will move up a day to make the start in his place.

Rodriguez complained of some soreness following Sunday’s outing against the Blue Jays and felt continued discomfort during a bullpen session today. Astros general manager Ed Wade said that the 32-year-old southpaw is scheduled for an MRI exam tomorrow.

“Until we get the MRI, we won’t know if we’re looking at him just missing (Saturday) and getting pushed back,” Wade said. “Somebody is going to have to start on Tuesday. Once we get the MRI, we’ll get a better sense and feel of whether he’s going to be in position to throw a bullpen on Sunday and get ready for Tuesday.”

Rodriguez is 3-3 with a 3.41 ERA and 53/16 K/BB ratio over his first 10 starts this season. He has made at least 30 starts in four out of the last five seasons.

One would think that an extended absence could lead to top prospect right-hander Jordan Lyles being called up from the minor leagues. Lyles, 20, has a 3.20 ERA over his first 10 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, averaging 6.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. He has a 2.81 ERA over his last five starts.

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.