Casey Kotchman was the Marlins’ Opening Day first baseman, but landed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring after just two games. He came back in June and played four more games before going back on the DL with an oblique injury.
Now he’s finally healthy again, but this time the Marlins don’t want him back, releasing the 30-year-old who had been rehabbing in the minors. Kotchman hit .295 with zero homers and a .737 OPS in 18 games at Triple-A and Logan Morrison is entrenched as Miami’s regular first baseman.
Kotchman is a good-fielding first baseman, but he’s always lacked the kind of bat teams look for at the position and it’s hard to imagine him landing more than a bench gig for 2014.
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.