Matt Kemp

Scenes from Spring Training: Matt Kemp shows hustle

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The “Matt Kemp is lazy and out of shape” meme got beat to death last year. Was there any truth to it? Sure, some. But it probably got overplayed because I’m not sure anyone is due as much garbage he got thrown on him in 2010. In light of all of that, I feel justified in relaying exactly one inning’s worth of Matt Kemp data as a means of trying to balance things out.

Kemp led off the top of the second here at Tempe Diablo. He cracked a single up the middle. Then he stole second base. Then he advanced to third base on a grounder to short that a lot of guys would have held up on but on which Kemp had such a great jump that he would have beat the throw even if Erick Aybar had tried to make a play.  Then Kemp tagged, hauled ass and scored on a shallow fly to center by Russ Mitchell.

The way I see it, that was three instances of hustle in one at bat, his first of spring training.  That’s not a lot of data, but maybe it’s time that we all pour our Matt Kemp Haterade down the drain.

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.