Arroyo and Penny both impressive in matchup

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Bronson Arroyo allowed just four hits in eight innings of one-run ball Thursday against the Cardinals despite taking an early Colby Rasmus comebacker off his calf, but got stuck with a no-decision and said afterward that his leg was “not real good.”
Hopefully he can make his next start, because Thursday’s gem kept Arroyo on a major roll dating back to last season. In fact, Arroyo has the best ERA in all of baseball since last July at 2.01.
Brad Penny matched Arroyo with seven innings of one-run ball and perhaps most impressively induced 13 ground-ball outs. Penny has always been a fly-ball pitcher, but Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan has a history of getting scrap-heap veterans to change their approach in the name of more grounders.
Joel Pineiro was his big success story in 2009 and it wouldn’t be shocking if Duncan worked similar miracles with Penny.

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.