In some serious need of outfield depth with Jason Heyward possibly facing a DL stint because of a sore right shoulder, the Braves have turned to former All-Star Ryan Klesko.
To pitch batting practice.
Klesko, who retired in 2007 after eight seasons with the Braves, seven with the Padres and one with the Giants, threw BP to Braves hitters prior to Wednesday’s game against the Nationals.
He said he’s been throwing BP for high school and college teams and that he’s done so for the Giants in spring training in the past. Klesko never pitched in the majors, but he was a big-time pitching prospect in high school before hurting his arm.
“I can throw breaking balls, curveballs and cutters and game simulation if they need me on occasion,” he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
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.