I keep saying that the extra days off are annoying, but on the bright side they give ballplayers a chance to mess with beat writers’ heads:
Is there anything wrong with your foot?” I asked Chase Utley yesterday.
“No,” he said.
“Is there anything wrong with your hip?”
“No,” he said.
“Would you tell us if there was?”
I wouldn’t tell them either. Still, given Utley’s erratic play at second in the NLCS, there was a lot of speculation that he is or, at the very least was, in fact hurt. Speculation that is supported by these kinds of statements from Utley:
“I think the days off right now are pretty special. You don’t have many days off during the regular season. You let your body relax, heal up. It’s a good thing.”
So there’s another silver lining to all of the days off. The injured (or not) Chase Utley is now healed (or not), and healthy ballplayers make for a better series.
At least until A-Rod slides in hard to second base on a would-be 6-4-3 and the throw goes wide . . .
The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.
Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.
Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.