Daisuke Matsuzaka to start Saturday against the Nats

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Dice-K last pitched in the big on May 16, 2011.  He’ll next pitch in the bigs on June 9, 2012. That’s when he’ll be activated and face the Nationals.

Matsuzaka had his last tuneup last night in which he allowed one run in a short, 1 1/3 inning performance.  Overall he had a 3.65 ERA and struck out 30 guys while walking nine in 37 innings while on rehab. During that time he experiencedsome pain in his trapezius muscle, but now seems to be over it.

Solid work by Matsuzaka, once considered gravy for the Red Sox, not seems pretty important to Boston remaining competitive in the tough AL East.

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.