Greg Luca of MLB.com provides the following update:
Evan Longoria took what manager Joe Maddon called a positive step forward during a pregame workout on Tuesday in Baltimore, giving hope that the third baseman could begin a rehab assignment during the team’s current nine-game road trip.
“He was pleased, and I was pleased watching him. Nice progress,” Maddon said. “He may be a little bit closer than you think to being out and doing something and coming back to us.”
Longoria has been on the disabled list since early May with a partially torn left hamstring. He was only supposed to miss 4-6 weeks, but he felt renewed discomfort in mid-June and has been delayed ever since.
The 26-year-old third baseman was batting .329/.433/.561 in 23 games before suffering the initial injury.
Tampa Bay entered play Tuesday with a 49-47 record, ranking third in the American League East standings.
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.