Cardinals "intensify search" for third baseman, reportedly eye Brandon Inge

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Yesterday the Cardinals moved Opening Day third baseman David Freese to the 60-day disabled list and gave 25-year-old rookie Allen Craig his first career start at the hot corner. And in related news, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that they have “intensified a search for help at the position.”
Tony La Russa said just last week that using Craig at third base “would be the worst thing for him and the team,” but with Freese out for the season with a broken ankle and veteran fill-in Felipe Lopez disappointing both offensively and defensively the manager quickly changed his mind. For now at least.

I don’t think this is really doing [Craig] a justice. It’s one of those moves you make because you have to make it, not because you want to make it. I don’t hesitate to make it because I really think this guy is a gamer, a talented gamer. It’s not really good for our club if he has to do it. He’s a very tough guy. He’s unafraid. We’ll see if we need to throw him out there again.

Craig made an error on the only ball hit to him yesterday, although Strauss described it as “a two-hop, ninth-inning smash.”
As for who the Cardinals are targeting as a longer-term answer at third base, Strauss reports that “the club retains interest in” Brandon Inge, an impending free agent with about $1.5 million left on his contract. With the Tigers three games below .500 and 10.5 games out of first place they’ll no doubt try to pass Inge through waivers to set up a trade, but he may be claimed before getting to the Cardinals.

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.