As expected the Rays have activated B.J. Upton from the disabled list and the center fielder will make his season debut tonight after sitting out the first 13 games with a back injury.
Upton, who suffered the injury in a March 14 collision with Desmond Jennings, went just 3-for-21 (.143) during a seven game minor-league rehab assignment.
Jennings has filled in for Upton as the everyday center fielder, but now he’ll shift back to left field and Matt Joyce will move to right field with Ben Zobrist likely seeing more time as a second baseman.
Stephen Vogt, a 27-year-old career minor leaguer who went 0-for-13 in his first taste of the majors, was optioned back to the minors to make room for Upton.
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.