In news that unfortunately doesn’t come as a big surprise, the Braves just announced that Ben Sheets was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
Sheets was very effective upon joining the Braves last month, allowing one run or less in four out of his first five starts, but he has a 7.71 ERA over his last three starts. The 34-year-old right-hander lasted just 4 1/3 innings last night against the Giants, allowing four runs on nine hits and three walks. He admitted 10 days ago that he was going through a bit of dead arm phase, so it looks like things got worse.
The Braves have been using six starters recently, but they’ll presumably return to a five-man rotation. Miguel Batista had his contract purchased from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Sheets’ place on the active roster. The 41-year-old right-hander posted an ugly 4.82 ERA and 34/31 K/BB ratio over 46 2/3 innings with the Mets earlier this season before being released. Sorry, Craig Calcaterra.
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.