Daniel Bard was back in the Red Sox’s clubhouse yesterday and will officially be recalled before today’s game, returning to the majors following a three-month demotion to Triple-A.
Bard was dumped from Boston’s rotation and sent to the minors in early June, taking with him a 5.24 ERA and more walks (37) than strikeouts (34) in 55 innings.
He was every bit as awful at Triple-A with a 7.03 ERA and 32/29 K/BB ratio in 32 innings, making 30 of his 31 appearances as a reliever. He also plunked 10 batters and uncorked nine wild pitches. In other words, he was a mess.
And yet now he’s back in the majors, although it’s hard to imagine manager Bobby Valentine relying on him for anything more than a mop-up bullpen role.
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.