Gary Tuck resigning as Red Sox bullpen coach for personal reasons led to some speculation that Jason Varitek might be looked at to replace him on short notice, but apparently that’s not going to happen.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com talked to a source and reports “it does not appear that Varitek is being considered–or even wants to be considered–for a full-time return to uniform.”
Varitek remains in the organization as a special assistant to the front office, but Speier notes that in retiring he wanted to spend more time with his family and jumping back in as a coach would ruin that.
All of which means the Red Sox are looking for a new bullpen coach with two weeks until spring training.
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.