Cross Mound

They’re not putting the cross on the mound at Busch Stadium anymore

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A couple of weeks ago we learned that there was a fuss of sorts — something of a minor ruckus — involving Cardinals pitchers and grounds crew members putting a cross on the mound at Busch Stadium. People were offended, see, because, I dunno, it turned them into Christians against their will or something.

Now, as a result of the outrage, the Cardinals have removed the cross and asked players and grounds crew not to put it there anymore.

I’m a big annoying agnostic who is among the first to get irked when religion and government start to become intertwined, but I fail to see how this could have truly bothered anyone. It was a step up from a guy wearing a crucifix or looking to the heavens after doing something good on the playing field. No one was asking anyone else to adopt any beliefs. No one else’s beliefs or freedoms were impinged. Someone just got annoyed at someone else’s thing and decided to be a pain about it.

Hope it made them feel better.

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.