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Rafael Furcal nearing rehab assignment for oblique injury

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Jonathan Broxton is slated to begin his rehab assignment tonight at Triple-A and Rafael Furcal may not be far behind, as Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles reports that the injured shortstop could start a rehab stint of his own as soon as Monday.

Furcal has been out since June 4 with a strained left oblique muscle that was initially expected to sideline him for at least a month.

He was able to field ground balls, make throws, and even take batting practice from the right side of the plate yesterday, but Jackson notes that the big test will come when the switch-hitter tries some swings from the left side.

Dee Gordon has held his own in Furcal’s place, filling in as the shortstop and leadoff man, but his hitting .280 with little power or plate discipline presumably hasn’t impressed enough for the 23-year-old rookie to keep a starting job once Furcal returns.

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.