Apparently, Yasiel Puig ticked off the NLCS umpiring crew

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When you’re as exuberant as Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, you’re bound to rub some people the wrong way. According to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick and Lyle Spencer, Puig ticked off the NLCS umpiring crew with some of his reactions to balls and strikes:

Puig has enraged the crew, which believes he is showing up umpires at home plate. It nearly came to a head in Game 5 when Puig was called out on strikes by plate umpire Ted Barrett and stood in the batter’s box, left hand on hip, staring at Barrett. Earlier in the at-bat, Puig said something to Barrett, who came out from behind the plate, brushed off the plate and apparently said something to Puig.

Earlier in that game, Barrett called out Hanley Ramirez on a third strike and Ramirez shook his head repeatedly and had some words with Barrett as he walked away. In a regular-season game, Puig might have been ejected. Before each postseason series, however, umpires meet with managers and general managers and explain that, because of the importance of the series, umpires will exercise restraint on ejections, as long as uniform personnel don’t take advantage of their patience.

Gurnick and Spencer also note that Dodgers president Stan Kasten and MLB executive vice president Joe Torre were talking during batting practice prior to Friday night’s start, ostensibly about Puig. Puig was noticeably more reserved early in Game 6, not reacting at all to borderline calls by home plate umpire Greg Gibson.

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.