Aroldis Chapman had everyone worried last week when his triple-digit fastball dripped all the way into the low-90s, leading even teammates to publicly question his health.
However, after being shut down for four days by the Reds he returned to the mound last night looking like his usual overpowering self against the Pirates, albeit in a mop-up role.
Chapman tossed a scoreless ninth inning in a 9-3 loss and MLB.com’s pitch-fx system tracked his average fastball at 100.3 miles per hour.
Not quite the 104-106 mph range that created so many headlines last season, but he topped out at 102.6 mph and clearly the time off did Chapman’s velocity some good. In fact, the one slider Chapman threw last night registered at 91.5 mph, which isn’t far off from where his fastball was at last week.
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.