The Voice of the Yankees retires

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Bob Sheppard hasn’t announced games at Yankee Stadium since 2007, but he had not made his retirement official until today:

Bob Sheppard served more than 50 seasons as the “Voice of Yankee
Stadium,” his clear, concise and correct style proudly providing the
soundtracks of summer for Yankees players from Joe DiMaggio to Derek
Jeter.

One month after celebrating his 99th birthday by watching the
Yankees inch closer to their 27th World Series championship — the
first Fall Classic he missed in the Bronx since 1951 — Sheppard has
decided it is time to officially step down as the club’s public address
announcer.

“I have no plans of coming back,” Sheppard said on Wednesday in
a telephone interview. “Time has passed me by, I think. I had a good
run for it. I enjoyed doing what I did. I don’t think, at my age, I’m
going to suddenly regain the stamina that is really needed if you do
the job and do it well.”

Most people retire when they’re over 30 years younger than Sheppard, so he has more than put in his fair share of work.  Still, he will be missed by Yankees fans and anyone else who fell in love with baseball back when a day at the ballpark was a simple and straightforward affair. No dot races, no rock music pumped in before every at bat and no other sorts of nonsense.  Just the sun, some light organ music and the sounds of the game, chief among them the dulcet tones of a true pro like Sheppard.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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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.