We originally mentioned this last June, but now J.C. Romero is being sued by the fan who accused him of assault.
Robert Eaton, 26, has filed a lawsuit claiming that Romero caused him “serious and permanent injury” by allegedly hitting him in the neck when he was asking for an autograph. Eaton recalls getting the pitcher’s attention by saying, “How about you get me some juice?” Of course, Romero served a 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy, so it’s possible he didn’t take too kindly to the joke, but charges were never pursued on the Phillies left-hander because of conflicting reports from witnesses.
Eaton, who said the assault left him with three herniated disks in his neck, is seeking in excess of $15,000 in damages.
On the pitching side of things, Romero is working his way back from offseason surgery on his elbow. He has yet to face live hitters, leaving the chances of him being ready for the start of the season in doubt.
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.