Kendrys Morales is still a major question mark nearly two years removed from breaking his lower left leg while jumping onto home plate following a game-winning-home grand slam, but he did get some good news after visiting his doctor in Colorado earlier this week.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Morales was cleared to “ramp up” some baseball activities. While he was previously jogging on a “de-weighted” treadmill and hitting off a tee in Arizona, he has already begun running under his own body weight. The real test will come when Morales begins running the bases aggressively, but this is a very positive early sign.
The Angels tendered Morales a contract this offseason, despite the fact that he hasn’t played in a professional game since May 29, 2010. The 28-year-old switch-hitter figures to make around $4 million in his second year of arbitration, but the benefits are obviously huge if he can bounce back to his 2009 form. Mark Trumbo is behind in his rehab from foot surgery, but the Angels still have enough depth that they can afford to bring Morales along slowly.
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.