Bobby Valentine is really not having a stellar 24 hours

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First that dustup with Kevin Youkilis and now some bad in-game managing is making for a pretty crappy day for Bobby V.

Daniel Bard and James Shields were locked in a 0-0 pitchers’ duel. Bard had been effective all day, but effectively wild too, walking several. In the seventh inning Bard, already over 100 pitches on a hot day in one of his first few major league starts, started to tire.

With two outs, he walked Sean Rodriguez. Then he gave up a single to Desmond Jennings. He was visibly tired by this point, but Valentine didn’t pull him. Nope, he then let him walk Carlos Pena on four straight pitches to load the bases. Two outs, remember, in a 0-0 game, but on goes Bard.

Even Longoria comes up to bat. He too walks on four straight pitches, scoring Rodriguez.  It’s 1-0 Rays in the bottom of the seventh as I write this. UPDATE: That score held up. Rays win it 1-0.

Maybe we can call this Grady Little-level managing. Or maybe Bobby V. learned a lesson from the Youkilis thing and was just not wanting to appear to question the motivation of a second player in less than two days.  I guess someone will have to ask him after the game. Which should be fun.

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.