Alex Rodriguez’s thumb injury likely to linger into playoffs

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Alex Rodriguez may be back in the Yankees’ lineup as soon as tomorrow night after not playing since September 9, but general manager Brian Cashman revealed that the team expects his thumb injury to linger for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

Here’s what Cashman told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:

He’s got a Grade 1 sprain and it’s not going to go away completely this season. It only goes away with time, which is not something that’s necessarily in our favor. It’s a sprained collateral ligament and it’s more of an irritating thing than anything else. It could take six days, or 15 days, or 30 days, and even if he feels 100 percent, one wrong move or one bad swing or checked swing or dive or whatever could bring it right back to square one again. It’s just something he’s going to have to deal with.

Rodriguez initially suffered the thumb injury on August 24, shortly after returning from the disabled list following back surgery, and has played just nine of 24 games since then while hitting .226 (although he has managed two homers and a solid .866 OPS). He’ll fall short of 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the first time since 1997 and Rodriguez’s current .842 OPS is the lowest of his career.

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.