Charlie Manuel

Charlie Manuel: “No way in hell we overused Jose Contreras”

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Jose Contreras was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a right flexor pronator strain and manager Charlie Manuel was questioned about whether the reliever’s recent heavy workload led to the elbow problems.

Not only did Manuel deny that premise, he did so very strongly. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has the details:

I feel like, first of all, there’s no way in hell we overused Contreras. That’s how I feel. There’s no way. What did he pitch? The most [consecutive] games was three. Then he had a day off. He pitched five times in seven days. We weren’t trying to stay away from him. He was closing games. That’s how I look at it.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. commented that Contreras “had been pitching quite a bit” when the DL stint was announced, but he later clarified that he wasn’t criticizing Manuel’s handling of the 39-year-old. Manuel was asked if anyone in the front office said anything to him about pitcher workloads and responded: “That’s none of your business.”

Manuel no doubt had various reasons for using Contreras so often, not the least of which is that closer Brad Lidge was on the disabled list already, but ultimately a 39-year-old reliever pitching five times in seven days qualifies as a very heavy workload. I’m sure even Manuel would admit that if there wasn’t criticism attached.

Last but not least, my favorite part of Manuel’s rant when questioned about Contreras came when one reporter told him criticism is “the nature of the game” and he replied: “I don’t think I look like a nature boy.” That’s a funny quote coming from anyone, but becomes downright hilarious if you’ve ever seen and heard Charlie Manuel. Excuse me, Charlie “Not A Nature Boy” Manuel.

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.