I don’t know if there are more catcher concussions today than there used to be or if it’s more a matter of baseball better diagnosing them and people talking about and publicizing them. But given how much more seriously the matter of concussions is being taken these days this article about catcher masks by the Pioneer Press is interesting.
The issue: whether the newer generation of catcher’s masks — made with lightweight titanium — are less safe than the old school steel ones. Catcher are increasingly going to them for the weight and comfort, but they may be worse at absorbing shock. Ultimately it’s about force absorption, right? And the greater mass of the steel masks helps in that regard.
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.