Bobby Abreu

Mike Scioscia sticks with Bobby Abreu as No. 3 hitter despite .199 average since July 1

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Bobby Abreu struck out four times Wednesday and came into last night hitting just .199 with four homers in 59 games since July 1, but as usual he was in the Angels’ lineup as the No. 3 hitter.

It was the 94th time this season that manager Mike Scioscia has had Abreu in the third spot, which is remarkable for a 37-year-old who’s been awful for going on three months and is hitting just .252 with a .360 slugging percentage overall this season.

Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register asked Scioscia about the decision to stick with Abreu in the lineup and leave him in the middle of the batting order, and the manager replied that “he’s still giving us good at-bats.”

Abreu has long been one of the most patient hitters in the league and his .397 career on-base percentage ranks 10th among active players, but along with the .199 batting average since July 1 he’s also gotten on base at a putrid .281 clip.

If the Angels end up missing the playoffs by a couple games–and right now it looks like they will–the manager’s faith in Abreu will be one of the reasons. And he’ll be back next season after his $9 million option vested.

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.