Survivor Smacked Me In The Chops

Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: Clutch puzzle solving

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Jeff Kent was featured prominently in the season premiere of “Survivor” last week, but he was mostly an afterthought in the second episode last night. And yet because I wasted an hour of my life watching the show I’m going to do a Kent-centric recap now:

• The producers are clearly trying to make him a major character, as Kent and former “Facts of Life” actress Lisa Whelchel were the first two contestants mentioned in the whole “last week on …” recap.

• Kent was shown early on having a rough time with the island’s constant rainy weather because his knee, which he injured in the episode, continues to give him problems.

• His first words this week were an attempt to link the show and baseball: “I played baseball for 17 years. ‘Survivor’ is going to be a long season for me. If you don’t have anything left in the tank in October you aren’t going to be a champion. I’m making sure I’m taking care of my knee and making sure I have enough energy to help our team win.”

• Fun fact, considering that quote: Kent never actually won a champion during his MLB career.

• Kent does not know how to make a fire, so he fits in perfectly with seemingly everyone else on the show. How nearly everyone finds out they’re going to be on “Survivor” and doesn’t bother a), doing some cardio, and b) learning how to make a fire is beyond me.

• Despite the knee injury Kent volunteers to do extra work pulling a heavy sled during the immunity challenge, which makes sense even with the injury since he’s a former professional athlete and the other people are mostly just very good at being annoying.

• After doing a solid job pulling the sled Kent then goes to work trying to put together a large puzzle. He nimbly hops up onto the table where the puzzle is, suggesting last week’s fears about a torn MCL were overblown.

• His team falls behind in the puzzle making, but Kent fits the final pieces together by diving onto the table to flatten it into place to win second place and the reward of a tarp. He celebrates by lying on his back with legs and arms in the air while appearing to have some sort of brace or wrap on his knee, which means he either brought that or someone on the show gave it to him. Hmm.

• Kent and his tribe avoided tribal council for another week, which in turns means I have to watch this show for at least one more episode.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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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.