Alex Rodriguez returns from disabled list as Yankees’ designated hitter

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As expected Alex Rodriguez is off the disabled list and in the Yankees’ lineup for this afternoon’s game, batting cleanup and starting at designated hitter against the Rays.

Rodriguez has been out since mid-July with a broken hand and went 0-for-7 with four strikeouts on a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Single-A, so expecting an immediate impact is probably optimistic.

Rodriguez was having the worst season of his career before the injury, but hitting .276 with 15 homers and an .806 OPS in 94 games is still plenty solid production at designated hitter or third base and in the 37-year-old’s absence the Yankees were just 18-18.

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.