Lance Berkman could be ready to play in the World Series

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Lance Berkman was left off the Cardinals’ playoff roster following knee surgery, but said today that he could potentially be ready to play in the World Series.

B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com reports that Berkman has started light running and “thinks there’s real chance” he could be added to the roster if the Cardinals advance past the Giants.

Berkman made a pinch-hitting appearance in the Cardinals’ regular season finale, but before that hadn’t played since September 7. He obviously isn’t going to bump Allen Craig out of the lineup, but even at less than full strength Berkman could be a nice bat to have available off the bench.

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.