Hal Steinbrenner says Alex Rodriguez is getting too much of the blame

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Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had a telephone interview with the Associated Press earlier today and you’ll be shocked to learn that he was asked about Alex Rodriguez.

While Steinbrenner wouldn’t discuss any speculation about whether Rodriguez will be back in New York next season, he did say that the the 37-year-old is getting too much of the blame for the team’s ALCS loss to the Tigers.

“He was just one of quite a few that just had a bad time at the plate,” the team’s co-chairperson said Friday during a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “So is it fair to accuse him of everything but the Kennedy assassination? No, it’s not fair, but we’ll see what happens from this point on.”

Rodriguez’s situation has naturally received a lot of attention over the past week, so he has been cast as the scapegoat in some circles, but he’s pretty far down the list among those responsible for the Yankees’ ALCS loss. One could argue that he’s even less to blame than his replacement Eric Chavez, who was 0-for-8 with four strikeouts during the series and made defensive miscues in both Games 3 and 4. But what fun is that?

As for A-Rod’s future in pinstripes, he said after last night’s game that he has no plans to waive no-trade clause. Meanwhile, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com earlier today that he has no intention to shop Rodriguez this offseason. Unfortunately, I’m guessing we haven’t heard the last of this story.

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.