Brennan Boesch to undergo thumb surgery

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Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch was hoping to put off thumb surgery until after the season, but the pain from his torn ligament has prevented him from swinging a bat and he made the decision Sunday to have the procedure now.

Boesch was one of the AL’s better corner outfielders during the first half of the season, hitting .306/.360/.490 with 12 homers, 57 runs scored and 44 RBI in 84 games before the All-Star break.  Unfortunately, a thumb injury he sustained earlier in the season got a whole lot worse when he aggravated it on Aug. 10.  He played scarcely afterwards and failed to drive in a run in any of his remaining eight appearances.

With Boesch done, the Tigers will hope that Magglio Ordonez or Andy Dirks can step up and claim the right-field job headed into the postseason.  Ordonez had a big game Thursday, homering and doubling twice against the Royals.  Still, he’s hitting just .239/.288/.321 in 293 at-bats.  Dirks, a rookie, is batting .253/.296/.404 in 178 at-bats.  The Tigers can also give Ryan Raburn time there if they wish.  He’s hitting .239/.277/.402.  Dirks, being the lefty swinger and the superior defender, would be the preferable choice to step into Boesch’s shoes.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.