Many people would argue that the story of the early season has been Evan Gattis — El Oso Blanco — the Braves’ backup catcher who has seemingly come out of nowhere to put up some pretty impressive power numbers for a 26 year-old rookie. And with all of the attention on Gattis, it’s understandable if one overlooks the guy he backs up. That’d be Brian McCann, who smacked two homers today — one in the 10th inning — to lead the Braves past the Blue Jays 7-6 in a sloppy getaway day game.
The reason Gattis had the opportunity to become a story is because McCann started the season on the DL. But since he’s come back all he’s done is hit .281/.354/.614 with six home runs, 14 RBI and a .968 OPS in 16 games. That has left Gattis with less playing time, obviously. But not without opportunities to shine. He hit a homer today as he played behind the plate, giving McCann a chance to DH in the AL park.
As for the Braves and Jays, they do both getaway. Both to Atlanta, as they complete the final two games of their four-game series at Turner Field tomorrow and Thursday.
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.