Update: The early word is that Beltre has only a bruise on the back of his head. No concussion. He said after the game that he didn’t believe Padilla was throwing at him.
Vicente Padilla is known to be a head-hunter, but this one truly appeared to be an accident.
With two outs in the eighth inning tonight, Padilla drilled Adrian Beltre in the back of the helmet with a 92-mph fastball, sending Beltre to the ground in a heap. Beltre got up after a minute and wanted to stay in the game, but the Rangers made the smart decision to send in a pinch-runner.
Padilla was working in a tie game and had an 0-2 count on Beltre when the fastball appeared to get away from him. Had it been anyone else, there would have been no doubt it was an accident. Padilla doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt based on his history, but it still seems unlikely any malice was intended.
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.