Infielder Joe Thurston, who played in the Phillies organization for two seasons including a pair of starts in left field in 2006, was signed to a minor league deal, according to Jim Salisbury. [Link]
Thurston, a Beerleaguer favorite from ye olden days, was released by Houston earlier this week. The 32-year-old journeyman has passed through the Boston, St. Louis, Atlanta and Florida organizations since his stay with the club ended in 2007. He has the distinct honor of starting in place of both a slumping Pat Burrell and disgruntled Manny Ramirez in left field even though he had never really played the position aside from shagging balls during batting practice. Thurston had an extended stay as the Cardinals starting third baseman during 2009, hitting .225/.316/.330 in 307 plate appearances and making 55 starts in the field. It was his last regular action in the Majors; his last two seasons were spent with the Triple-A affiliates for Atlanta and Florida. In parts of nine seasons at Triple-A, he's a .297/.355/.438 hitter. Thurston will provide depth at either Double-A or Triple-A.
Transactions: More roster cuts. Catcher Erik Kratz was optioned to Triple-A, according to Salisbury's twitter. Utilityman Tim Kennelly was sent back to minor league camp.