The good news for longtime Orioles second baseman turned Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts is that he’s stayed healthy this season after injuries derailed his career for most of the past four years and has already played his most games since 2009.
The bad news is that he hasn’t been particularly good for the Yankees, hitting just .237 with five homers and a .659 OPS in 91 games while struggling at times defensively, and now Yankees manager Joe Girardi says Roberts will be given some time off because “he’s been beat up this year, physically.”
Girardi says it’s “general soreness” for the 36-year-old Roberts rather than any specific injury and it seems likely that Roberts’ lack of production has made the idea of giving him time off more appealing. Kelly Johnson is close to coming back from the disabled list and could see some action at second base in place of Roberts, who’s hitting just .194 since a four-hit, three-double game on July 4.
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.