The Cardinals are getting some important pieces back in the fold. Matt Holliday and Kyle McClellan both returned from the disabled list this week and it sounds like third baseman David Freese isn’t too far behind them.
Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Freese will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Memphis. The 28-year-old third baseman underwent surgery to repair a fractured left hand after being hit by a pitch in early May.
“I’m excited to get going,” said Freese. “Obviously, we’re a couple of weeks ahead of where we thought we’d be.”
If all goes well, Freese believes he could rejoin the Cardinals sometime during their upcoming roadtrip, which begins June 28 in Baltimore and concludes July 3 in Tampa Bay.
Freese was batting .356/.394/.471 with two homers and 14 RBI over 94 plate appearances prior to the injury.
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.