Brandon Phillps' lack of hustle costs him a triple

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Brandon Phillps running bases.jpgAnd may have cost the Reds the game.

Phillips had already hit a homer off John Maine last night. In the third inning he hit another blast. Only problems: (a) it didn’t go out of the park; and (b) Phillips admired his handiwork with a casual trot out of the batter’s box and wound up with a double.  Dusty Baker said after the game that he thought it should have been a triple. Based on balls I’ve seen hit to that part of the Great American Ballpark in the past, I’d have to agree.

This was huge, because Joey Votto came to bat next and hit a deep fly to left field which would have scored Phillps had be been standing on third. The Reds ended up losing the game by one.

You’d figure that Phillips would get benched or something for this, but it sounds like Dusty Baker is treating him like the parents on 1980s sitcoms treated their kids:

“He’s been talked to about this. We’ve talked to
Brandon quite often. I guess he’s better than he used to be. We’re trying to get him to
the point where he can be a big difference maker every day. He certainly
has the skill and ability. What’s tough as a manager is when you’ve got an A student who’s
getting Bs.”

I haven’t seen “tough love” like that since “Growing Pains” went off the air. Wait, that’s not true. I think even even Mike Seaver would’ve gotten grounded over a boner like that.

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.