Jason Motte is coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, but the former Cardinals closer said yesterday that he doesn’t expect to be healthy in time for Opening Day.
Motte told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that being game ready by then would be “a push” in part because of some recent shoulder issues that slowed his rehab. He’ll be about 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery when the season starts.
Motte also told Goold that he’d rather test his readiness on a minor-league rehab assignment than be at less than full strength in the majors, saying he wouldn’t want to limit the Cardinals’ bullpen options by only being available every other day or not being trusted in key spots early on.
In other words, don’t expect to see Motte back in St. Louis before May.
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.