Alexi Ogando’s struggles could get him bumped from the Rangers’ rotation

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Alexi Ogando was slated for the Rangers’ rotation, but after back-to-back poor outings–including an early exit yesterday that had coaches worried he might be injured–T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the right-hander could get bumped to the bullpen.

Ogando has served in a setup role for the Rangers previously with a lot of success, but Sullivan writes that this time he might be used in a long relief role because his spring training performance has been so shaky.

His appearance yesterday was particularly odd because Ogando took the mound in the fourth inning and threw a few warmup pitches, only to have the trainer, pitching coach, and manager Ron Washington come out to the mound. He was removed from the game amid worries that he had a blister, but afterward said that wasn’t the case.

So what was the deal, then? Washington told Sullivan: “We messed up and forgot to tell him he wasn’t supposed to go back out there. Blame it on me.”

Seems like kind of a flimsy explanation given the presence of the trainer on the mound, but either way things aren’t going well for Ogando right now.

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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.