Former Yankees prospect Brandon Weeden returns to mound

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Cleveland Browns first-round pick and former Yankees minor leaguer Brandon Weeden threw out the first pitch for the Indians tonight, missing high and inside.

It must have brought back memories.

Weeden pitched for five years in the minors, four in the Yankees’ system, after the Bombers made him a second-round pick in 2002 and went 19-26 with a 5.02 ERA and a 344/213 K/BB ratio in 374 1/3 innings before deciding to give up baseball for football.

Of course, things got a lot better for him with his new sport. After redshirting in 2007 and spending two years as a backup, Weeden became one of college football’s top quarterbacks the last two years, and despite his advanced age, the Browns made him the 22nd selection in April’s draft.

After the first pitch today, Weeden said it was the first time in four years he had picked up a baseball.

“I don’t miss it,” Weeden said of the minors. “If I had made it all the way up here (the majors) I’m sure it would be a different story.”

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.