Daniel Bard has been a mess at Double-A this season and may have reached rock bottom last night, as the once-dominant Red Sox reliever walked five and uncorked two wild pitches in one inning of work.
Just eight of his 30 total pitches were strikes and Bard has now walked 17 batters in 12.2 innings at Double-A overall this season, including 13 walks in 3.2 innings since returning after a brief call-up to the Red Sox.
Bard was one of the best relievers in baseball from 2009-2011, throwing 197 innings with a 2.88 ERA, but his attempted transition to the rotation went horribly and he’s been a disaster ever since. At this point he’s basically in Steve Blass/Rick Ankiel/Mark Wohlers territory.
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.