Santiago Casilla ahead of schedule, could return in 2-3 weeks

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Giants reliever Santiago Casilla is doing well recovering from recent surgery on his right knee which removed a cyst. In fact, according to CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly, the right-hander is doing so well that manager Bruce Bochy estimates a return in two to three weeks. Casilla wasn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break.

Casilla went on the DL with a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings and has been nothing short of dominating since joining the Giants prior to the 2009 season. In 189.1 innings with the Giants, Casilla has a 2.19 ERA. In his absence, however, the Giants haven’t skipped a beat. They still own the National League’s third-best bullpen ERA at 3.07 and have featured six other relievers to cross the 20-inning threshold with an ERA below 2.60: closer Sergio Romo, Jose Mijares, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Chad Gaudin, and Jean Machi.

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.