There was some concern about Clay Buchholz going into his start in Game 4 of the World Series due to tightness in his right shoulder, the same one that knocked him out of commission for three months during the regular season. Nevertheless, Red Sox manager John Farrell gave his right-hander the ball.
Through two innings, Buchholz looks like he’s operating well below 100 percent. Per Brooks Baseball, his fastball averaged 91-95 MPH during the regular season, but has struggled to touch 89 MPH against the Cardinals in Game 4. To put in perspective how much worse his fastball is, he threw an 88 MPH change-up during the first at-bat against Matt Carpenter in the first inning. Buchholz, though, has made pitches when he has needed to, escaping a two-on, one-out situation in the bottom of the second inning.
Farrell hasn’t had anyone warm up in the bullpen in case Buchholz gets in trouble. He is at 30 pitches and just hit for himself in the top of the third inning, striking out.
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.