I just watched Chien-Ming Wang’s latest minor-league rehab start on MLB Network and he looked pretty good, throwing eight innings against the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate.
The bad news is that Wang managed only one strikeout, gave up 11 hits, and allowed four runs.
The good news is that recently demoted big leaguer Danny Valencia’s double was the lone extra-base hit and Wang was cruising along until giving up a handful of hits late. And two of the four runs came in after he exited in the ninth inning.
Another positive sign: Wang induced 14 ground-ball outs against a lineup that featured other ex-major leaguers Ben Revere, Sean Burroughs, J.R. Towles, Matt Carson, Pedro Florimon, Clete Thomas, and Rene Tosoni.
Wang was never a strikeout pitcher and at his best always relied on getting tons of grounders, so it was definitely a positive step for the rehabbing right-hander. However, with Ross Detwiler pitching well as the Nationals’ fifth starter there seemingly isn’t any room for Wang in Washington’s excellent rotation.
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.