Justin Maxwell expected to miss 4-6 weeks

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Justin Maxwell fractured his left hand in Tuesday’s game and the Astros announced today that he’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks. In his place the Astros have turned to prospect Robbie Grossman as their starting center fielder.

Maxwell was all about power and range, which helped cancel out a .230 batting average, .301 on-base percentage, and poor plate discipline. Grossman is a much different player, offering excellent patience at the plate and very good on-base percentages along with little power and questionable range in center field.

Long term Grossman probably doesn’t have much chance of sticking as a center fielder, but this does give him an opportunity to impress for the next month and perhaps work his way into the Astros’ plans alongside Maxwell.

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.