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Roy Oswalt pulled Thursday with back tightness, won’t make next scheduled start

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David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News passes along notice that righty Roy Oswalt had to be pulled from Thursday night’s game against the Cardinals after feeling tightness in his lower back.

Oswalt surrendered four earned runs in two ugly innings before exiting. He issued no walks, but he allowed five hits and struck out just one.

And the lack of success isn’t something new.

Oswalt had been roughed up for 21 hits and 11 earned runs in his last 19 1/3 innings heading into Thursday’s outing. He spent close to three weeks on the disabled list earlier this season, and there are valid concerns that he’s been trying to pitch while hurt.

The Phillies are likely to reevaluate Oswalt on Friday afternoon before making any kind of roster decisions. It’s certainly possible that the veteran starter will be headed back to the 15-day disabled list.

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UPDATE, 11:49 PM: Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly says Oswalt admitted to feeling pain in his lower back when “walking, pitching and sleeping.” He has already been scratched from his next scheduled start and could be headed back to the disabled list. There’s an MRI scheduled for Monday.

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.