Blue Jays catcher Molina talks with pitcher Alvarez during their Grapefruit League baseball game in Lakeland

Blue Jays call up 21-year-old prospect Henderson Alvarez from Double-A

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Henderson Alvarez began this season at Single-A, but 16 starts later the 21-year-old right-hander is in the majors after the Blue Jays called him up today.

Alvarez is stepping into the rotation spot that belonged to Carlos Villanueva, who’s on the disabled list with a strained forearm, and will make his big-league debut tomorrow at home against the A’s.

That’s a favorable first matchup for Alvarez, who had a 2.86 ERA and 66/17 K/BB ratio in 88 innings at Double-A.

Those are strong overall numbers and reports of his fastball hitting the upper-90s consistently speak well of his raw stuff, but his strikeout rate is nothing special and Alvarez had mediocre numbers at Single-A last season. Expect some growing pains initially.

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.