Red Sox put Kevin Youkilis on DL, call up Will Middlebrooks

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UPDATE: Still no word on the official roster move involved, but manager Bobby Valentine just said on WEEI radio that Middlebrooks will be in the starting lineup tonight.

UPDATE #2: Youkilis has been placed on the DL after saying he was at least 3-4 more days from being game ready, leaving Middlebrooks as the new starting third baseman.

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It’s unclear if he’ll be added to the active roster or is merely going to hang around as insurance in case Kevin Youkilis’ back injury proves serious, but Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com reports that Red Sox third base prospect Will Middlebrooks is on his way to Fenway Park.

Middlebrooks has been on fire at Triple-A, hitting .333 with nine homers and a 1.057 OPS in 24 games after ranking No. 54 on Baseball America‘s list of top prospects coming into the season.

Youkilis has missed three consecutive games with back soreness, causing the Red Sox to call up slick-fielding, weak-hitting shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias from Triple-A yesterday for some infield depth. And now Middlebrooks is joining him in Boston, although it remains to be seen if the 23-year-old will actually be making his big-league debut.

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.