Justin Morneau officially ruled out for ALDS

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made it official just a short while ago, confirming that Justin Morneau will not be included on the ALDS roster, according to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

“He hasn’t hit live, he hasn’t dove for a ball, he hasn’t done anything
like that. If you want a formal, ‘No he won’t be on the playoff roster
for the first round,’ there’s your formal. No, he won’t.”

Not a surprising revelation, as Morneau basically said the same thing after taking batting practice Thursday. Still, he continues to make progress from a concussion that has sidelined him since July 7. Morneau worked out again this afternoon, taking some swings and fielding groundballs. Barring any setbacks, the next step would be for him to face live pitching.

“We’ll have to make that decision within whatever, the next few days,”
Gardenhire said. “He’d have to go to Florida to do that. That’s down the
road a few days here. He’s doing good.”

Gardenhire wouldn’t speculate on his status for the rest of the playoffs, but Morneau told Mackey earlier this week that he hopes to return if the Twins are able to reach the ALCS. The Twins obviously won’t count on him, hence Gardenhire’s guarded optimism here, but that the possibility is even being discussed is a very encouraging sign.

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.