It has come to this: Ben Sheets may be in the Braves rotation within two weeks

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We noted yesterday that the Braves have signed Ben Sheets. Hey, he used to have something, let’s see if he still has something again. No harm, no foul.

Except now we learn that Sheets will get all of two rehab starts and, assuming his arm doesn’t disintegrate, will join the Braves rotation by mid-July. Atlanta’s starting pitching has been a weakness all year, beset by injury and mediocrity, but I didn’t feel like things were so bad that they were reanimating corpses and plugging them in a week after the All-Star break.

Oh well, I won’t worry. Because I think the odds favor his arm actually disintegrating over him actually being a starter the Braves will depend on to turn a somewhat frustrating season around.

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.