Billy Hamilton was never really in the mix for Opening Day job because he’s 22 years old and has just 50 career games above Single-A, but today the Reds made it official by reassigning the fastest man in baseball to minor league camp.
Hamilton has made the transition from shortstop to center field, but has yet to play the outfield in an actual minor league game. So he’ll get some work in at Triple-A while Shin-Soo Choo provides a short-term stop gap at the position.
Hamilton hit .311 with a .410 on-base percentage in 132 games between high Single-A and Double-A last season, setting the all-time record with a ridiculous 155 stolen bases.
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.