Giants to call up prospect Eric Surkamp for start tonight against Astros

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According to Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News, the Giants will call up prospect left-hander Eric Surkamp to make his major league debut tonight against the Astros.

Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito are both sidelined with ankle sprains and Dan Runzler gave up four runs on three hits and three walks over 1 2/3 innings in his first major league start last Sunday against the Astros, so Surkamp will be asked to serve as the fifth starter for the time being.

Surkamp, 24, has improved his stock this season by posting a 2.02 ERA and 165/44 K/BB ratio over 142 1/3 innings with Double-A Richmond. He has averaged 10.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 over parts of four seasons in the minor leagues. The 2008 sixth-round pick isn’t a hard thrower, but his changeup and curveball are considered plus-pitches.

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.