Rays expect to be without Kyle Farnsworth for 4-6 weeks

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So much for Kyle Farnsworth’s elbow injury being a minor one.

Yesterday the Rays placed Farnsworth on the disabled list and today manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he expects to be without the closer for 4-6 weeks.

No word yet on the fill-in closer, but most of the Rays’ beat writers expect Maddon to use a closer-by-committee approach initially, which means Joel Peralta is seemingly the favorite for saves and Fernando Rodney, J.P. Howell, and perhaps even Wade Davis could get into the ninth-inning mix.

Farnsworth saved 25 games with a 2.18 ERA and 51/12 K/BB ratio in 58 innings last season, but has been dealing with elbow problems since September.

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.