UPDATE: Berkman’s surgery is set for tomorrow morning, says Strauss.
Lance Berkman told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he’ll undergo knee surgery either tomorrow or Friday, but rather than have the operation in Colorado as expected he’ll instead go under the knife in Houston.
Berkman still lives in Houston after spending a dozen years with the Astros and explained: “I just thought it made sense to have everything happen here if possible.”
Berkman and the Cardinals have disagreed about the extent of the damage to his ACL, so there won’t be an official recovery timetable until the surgeon gets a closer look. At the very least he has a torn meniscus and ACL stretching, and the best-case scenario would likely involve a return in 6-8 weeks.
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.