Joe Mauer is one hit away from 1,000 for his career, which would be the fifth-most ever by a catcher through age 27:
Ivan Rodriguez 1333
Ted Simmons 1279
Johnny Bench 1246
Joe Torre 1087
JOE MAUER 999
He’ll likely end up with around 1,020 hits by season’s end.
Missing most of his rookie season with a knee injury hurts Mauer’s through-age-27 hit total, and his excellent patience at the plate also means he’s traded some hits for walks. He’s drawn 430 free passes, which is the fourth-most ever by a catcher through age 27:
Johnny Bench 516
Darrell Porter 510
Butch Wynegar 450
JOE MAUER 430
Ted Simmons 427
Mauer has hit .355 in 53 games since the Twins lost Justin Morneau to a concussion on July 7, raising his season mark to .324, but because of a mediocre (for him, at least) first half and Josh Hamilton hitting .361 he’ll need a miracle to win his fourth batting title in five seasons.
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.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
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.