Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays

Carl Crawford kicks off brief rehab stint at Pawtucket

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Carl Crawford played his first of two minor league rehab games with Triple-A Pawtucket last night. He played five innings in left field and went 1-for-2 a broken bat RBI single, a walk and a run scored.

Most importantly, he told Mike Scandura of the Boston Globe after the game that his hamstring felt fine.

“The most important thing was being able to break out of the box like I normally can . . . to be able to move quick without worrying about my hamstring,’’ Crawford said after playing five innings in a rehab game for Pawtucket against the Durham Bulls. “I had a few moments tonight where I was able to test it.’’

Crawford has been sidelined since suffering a Grade 1 strain of his his left hamstring while beating out an infield single on June 17. Barring any setbacks this weekend, he is slated to fly to Baltimore on Sunday and rejoin the Red Sox for Monday’s game against the Orioles.

Crawford has a disappointing .243/.275/.384 batting line to go along with six home runs, eight stolen bases and a .659 OPS in 277 plate appearances this season, but was batting .316 with four home runs and 17 RBI over his last 21 games prior to the injury.

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.