Jocketty happy with Aroldis Chapman's progress as a reliever

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Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that he is pleased with Aroldis Chapman’s transition to the bullpen.

“Excellent,” GM Walt Jocketty said when asked how Chapman was doing
as a reliever. “His last time out [on Saturday], he pitched one inning
and faced two left-handed hitters and struck them out. He got the
right-hander out. In that one performance, he was dominating.”

Chapman has allowed one run over three innings in two relief appearances with Triple-A Louisville, striking out five and walking one. The Cuban fireballer was scheduled to work two innings behind the rehabbing Edinson Volquez on Tuesday night.

As for when we’ll see Chapman debut in the big leagues, there’s at least a chance it could be before the end of July.

“It’ll be some time after the All-Star break before we make a decision,”
Jocketty said.

Chapman’s control, as evidenced by his walk rate of 5.4 BB/9 in the minors, is still a work in progress, but seeing his 100+ mph fastball is sure to be a real treat from the outset. Let’s just hope the Reds don’t keep him in the bullpen for long.   

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.