Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the latest development in replay talks is that the “neighborhood play” — where the second baseman catches the ball off the bag and throws to first base in an attempt to both avoid an incoming runner and complete a double-play, and is given credit for the force out — will not be reviewable. Morosi adds that a manager may challenge that the second baseman did not make a catch but cannot challenge that the second baseman was on the bag when he received the ball.
Further, Morosi says that a big reason why the play will not be reviewable is that forcing a second baseman to catch the ball while on the bag increases his risk of being injured by an incoming runner. The extra split-second or full second that he must hang around the bag increases his odds of having the runner slide into him, or being up-ended as he attempts to leap over the runner. Additionally, the runner is also at risk. This is how Justin Morneau suffered his concussion in July 2010.
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.