John Smoltz closing in on Red Sox debut

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John Smoltz’s minor-league rehab outing last week at Double-A drew mixed reviews, as scouts in attendance were far from impressed with his post-surgery stuff despite 3.1 innings of one-run ball.

He took the mound again yesterday at high Single-A and allowed one run
over five innings. While there’s no scouting report on his outing, it’s
safe to assume that Smoltz looked pretty decent while striking out six, walking zero, allowing just four hits, and throwing 52 of 73 pitches for strikes.

“I felt really good,” Smoltz said.
“I think I’m going to get a little more complete each time. For the
most part, I’m really pleased with today’s effort. I felt really fresh
in the fifth inning, even though it’s the longest stint I’ve had.”

Smoltz has a 1.59 ERA and 10/0 K/BB ratio through three rehab
outings and will now move up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he’s
scheduled to make two starts before potentially being cleared to join
the Red Sox’s rotation.

Report: Nationals sign reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year deal

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Both a Kinsler and a Kintzler made headlines at the Winter Meetings. After the Angels acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Nationals have inked reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Kintzler, 33, spent the latter half of his 2017 campaign with the Nationals after the Twins traded him. Between both clubs, he put up an aggregate 3.03 ERA with 29 saves and a 39/16 K/BB ratio in 71 1/3 innings.

Sean Doolittle will handle save situations for the Nationals. Kintzler and Ryan Madson will bridge the gap to him in the seventh and eighth innings.