Nick Johnson sidelined by back injury

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nick johnson swinging.jpgYankees DH Nick Johnson has missed two games in a row and is likely out until Tuesday due to lingering back stiffness, according to Chad Jennings of The Journal News.

Johnson isn’t concerned that it will be a long-term issue, for what it’s worth.  But he has been plagued by injuries for most of his career and any kind of ailment is rightfully going to be met with a speculative eye. 

The 31-year-old Johnson is batting just .135 in 52 at-bats this season, but he has drawn 18 walks in 16 games for a .375 on-base percentage.  And that’s exactly why he bats in the two-hole for the Yanks, ahead of perennial All-Stars like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano.   New York is off to a 12-5 start this year, right behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East standings.

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.