Five weeks after being demoted to Triple-A by the A’s, first baseman Daric Barton has been diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will visit Dr. James Andrews tomorrow, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Barton called it “a little labrum tear” and “nothing big,” but told Slusser that he’ll likely need season-ending surgery.
He also described the news as somewhat of a “relief” because it may help explain why the 25-year-old former first-round pick followed up a strong 2010 season by hitting just .212 with zero homers and a .592 OPS in 67 games before the demotion.
Surgery sapping power isn’t a huge issue for Barton, who went deep just 10 times in 686 plate appearances last season while hitting .273 with a .393 on-base percentage on the strength of a league-leading 110 walks. Conor Jackson has been the A’s primary first baseman of late, but Barton likely remains atop the long-term depth chart for now at least.
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.