The Red Sox are on to their third pitching coach in two seasons after firing Bob McClure on Monday.
McClure served as a pitching coach for the Rockies and Royals before being hired to replace Curt Young last December. Young lasted just one season after taking over for John Farrell, who left Boston after the 2010 campaign for a job as Toronto’s manager.
Replacing McClure is Randy Niemann, who was already working as Boston’s assistant pitching coach. Niemann spent the previous two decades with the Mets and worked under Bobby Valentine in New York for a time. It’s his first gig as a team’s primary pitching coach.
Under McClure, the Red Sox rank 11th in the AL with a 4.30 ERA this season. They were ninth in the league at 4.20 last year.
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.