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David Ortiz cleared to pinch-hit, return to lineup Wednesday

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Jacoby Ellsbury was back in the lineup tonight after missing three games with a bruised back and it appears David Ortiz isn’t far behind him.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Ortiz tested his right heel before tonight’s game against the Rangers by running some sprints in the outfield. He’ll still have to be cleared by the Red Sox medical staff, but indicated that he may be ready to return to the starting lineup as soon as Wednesday.

“I could be in the lineup right now. I can’t watch this (expletive) no more,” Ortiz said with a smile. “But I’ve got to wait to see what the doctor says because it’s something that, if you don’t do things exactly the way they say, it can catch up with you later on. I don’t want to be stupid.”

Ortiz didn’t even discount the possibility that he could be available to pinch-hit tonight, though that would probably be pushing things a bit.

Ortiz, 35, is batting .300/.388/.557 with 24 homers, 79 RBI and a .945 OPS over 464 plate appearances this season. Rookie Ryan Lavarnway has served as the primary designated hitter during his absence and entered play Tuesday batting .294 (5-for-17) with a double, two RBI and a 4/4 K/BB ratio.

UPDATE: Heidi Watney of NESN reports that Ortiz has received clearance from the doctor and is available to pinch-hit tonight and return to the lineup tomorrow.

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.