Rays' Davis, Niemann will have shoulders examined

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Uh oh.  Word comes from the Tampa Tribune’s Tony Fabrizio that the Rays have sent both Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann back to St. Petersburg to be examined Monday by team orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton.

“Both of them have been experiencing the same kind of posterior shoulder
soreness,” manager Joe Maddon told the Tribune. “Again we don’t think either rone
is a long term situation of any kind but we want to make sure before we
put them out there.”

Niemann had a start skipped this weekend, so it’s no surprise, but Davis’ issues are new.  The rookie topped out at 158.2 innings last season for Triple-A Durham and has already reached 121.1 total frames this year in the big leagues.  Perhaps he’s hitting a wall.

The Rays held Jeremy Hellickson back from his scheduled Sunday start at Triple-A and could call him up next week if either Davis or Niemann is forced to the disabled list.  Hellickson threw seven innings of two-run ball in his major league debut against the Twins last week and would be a fine fill-in.  But it’s not exactly an ideal time for a Wild Card-leading team to begin losing starters.

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.