With Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees only hours away, the Rangers have announced some slight changes to their roster.
According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, left-handers Michael Kirkman and Clay Rapada have been added for this round, while right-hander Dustin Nippert and speedster Esteban German have been taken off.
Kirkman, 24, spent most of the year as a starting pitcher with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but posted a 1.65 ERA and 16/10 K/BB ratio over 14 relief appearances with the Rangers down the stretch. Rapada, 29, had a 4.00 ERA and 5/7 K/BB ratio in 13 relief appearances with the Rangers this season, but managed a fantastic 1.82 ERA and 61/21 K/BB ratio over 59 1/3 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He held left-handed batters to a .120 batting average.
Along with Darren Oliver and Derek Holland, the Rangers now have four left-handers in their bullpen.
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.