As we heard last week, Matt Harvey is embarking on a six-to-eight week throwing program to rehab his partially-torn elbow ligament rather than undergo Tommy John surgery. Interestingly, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York today that he would like to see Harvey test himself in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League as part of his rehab process. However, it’s unclear whether he’s actually eligible to do so.
Here are the eligibility rules, directly from the Arizona Fall League website:
“No players with more than one year of credited Major League service as of August 31 are eligible, except a team may select one player picked in the most recently concluded Major League Rule 5 Draft.”
Unless things have changed or there is some loophole that isn’t publicly known, this would seem to disqualify Harvey. Still, it’s clear the Mets want to see Harvey in some sort of competitive environment before a decision is made about surgery.
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.