Indians sign reliever Joe Thatcher


Left-hander Joe Thatcher has agreed to a deal with the Indians, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

Thatcher spent 2015 in the Astros’ bullpen, appearing in 43 games and logging 23 innings with a 3.18 ERA and 26/12 K/BB ratio. At age 34 he has a lifetime 3.38 ERA in 261 innings spent mostly with the Padres.

Thatcher has been used primarily as a left-handed specialist, holding lefty hitters to a .232 batting average and .645 OPS for his career, but he’s also been decent enough versus righty hitters to work his way into a somewhat bigger role if given a chance by the Indians.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.