Arolids Chapman impresses

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The Reds’ phenom may not face another team until Monday, but he pitched in his first game yesterday. An intrasquad affair. Word is that he looked good.  This stood out the most:

Chapman escaped the jam when he fired a 97-mph heater to strike out
Ryan Hanigan swinging. Next batter Wilkin Castillo saw a couple of
fastballs, broke his bat when he fouled off an 85-mph slider and swung
and missed on a perfectly thrown 82 mph changeup.

“I had no chance,” Castillo said of the final pitch. “He threw hard and was sneaky, too.”

All of the press on Chapman has been about his fastball, with some talk of a nascent changeup.  Speed doesn’t last all that long — even guys like Lincecum lose a few m.p.h. relatively early in their careers — but if Chapman can really master his change he’s going to be terrifying.

Can’t wait to see the guy pitch in person.

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.