Ryan Braun has been playing through a nerve problem in his right hand all season and today it’s causing him to be out of the Brewers’ starting lineup for the first time in a month.
Braun has repeatedly talked about how there’s no clear solution and today he discussed the situation further with Adam McCalvy of MLB.com:
There’s some thought that it could just eventually go away. And I think if there was a surgery that everybody was really confident would heal the injury and there wouldn’t be any side effects, we would have already done it. But because it isn’t something there is a lot of information on, it’s not something that’s been done often–we just need to continue to gather information. It’s not like I can’t play. I obviously can play.
Braun is right in that he’s still been a very good hitter relative to the league as a whole, but his .279 batting average and .814 OPS are both career-lows and he’s hitting just .161 in the past 16 games.
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.