Josh Hamilton is trying to quit chewing tobacco

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According to the Associated Press, Josh Hamilton is trying to quit chewing tobacco.

One would think that it shouldn’t be too tough for someone who has already overcome many personal demons, but it’s been a real struggle for him, not unlike many who dip or smoke regularly. Hamilton actually tried to quit last year, something we discussed on this blog, but it didn’t take.

In an effort to kick the habit for good, Hamilton is currently using toothpicks treated with tea tree oil, gum or sunflower seeds.

“It was time to do it,” Hamilton said. “It’s a habit and I don’t really enjoy it like I used to.”

Hamilton was actually chewing on one of the toothpicks when he ripped a first-inning single yesterday against the Rockies. That sounds a little risky, but hey, beats dying a slow death via dipping.

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.