Per CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly, Giants manager Bruce Bochy says he plans to platoon newcomer Jeff Francoeur and 32-year-old Japanese rookie Kensuke Tanaka in left field. Francoeur, signed by the Giants on July 8 after being designated for assignment by the Royals, will join the team tomorrow. Tanaka made his Major League debut on July 9, going 1-for-4 with a hit and a walk.
Prior to his ouster from Kansas City, Francoeur was hitting .208 with a .571 OPS in 193 trips to the plate, hitting left-handers equally as poorly as he hit right-handers. Francoeur is only 29 years old, but not many are optimistic about his ability to play at the Major League level.
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.