Wandy Rodriguez bumps Kevin Correia to Pirates’ bullpen

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Wandy Rodriguez will make his Pirates debut Saturday and adding to the drama is that he’ll be facing his former Astros teammates, in Houston.

Rodriguez’s arrival caused the Pirates to bump someone from the rotation and Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Kevin Correia has been demoted to the bullpen despite being a pretty decent starter since joining the team last year.

He has a 4.56 ERA in 45 total starts during that time, including a 4.24 mark this year, although
with offense being down across MLB that’s actually quite a bit worse than it initially appears. In fact, the NL average ERA for starters this year is 3.99.

There’s also been some speculation that the Pirates are looking to trade Correia to a team that could use him as a fourth or fifth starter, so he may not be long for the bullpen anyway.

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.