Early Times

And now the latest in baseball/alcohol news

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I always love it when my two biggest hobbies converge:

Dateline Seattle:  ESPN’s Jim Caple reports that a brewery is using maple bats — actual maple bats owned by Seattle Mariners players — to flavor beer.  Yes, Caple makes the requisite “at least the bats are being used for something” joke.  Given the use of Mariners bats, assumptions are that the beer is weak.

Dateline Cleveland:  The Indians are basically taunting me now by holding a four-course bourbon-themed dinner in their Terrace Club.  The taunting part is by virtue of the fact that the dinner is next Tuesday, when I’ll be out of state on vacation.

Not so sure about the pairing on that dessert course, though.  I learned about Jim Beam new “Devil’s Cut” when I was down in Kentucky back in June.  I’m a little dubious.  I’d do it for a ballgame, though. But now, sadly, I cannot.

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.