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Astros release outfielder J.D. Martinez

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After being removed from the 40-man roster during the offseason, outfielder J.D. Martinez was given his release by the Astros this morning. The news comes from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Martinez posted some impressive numbers as a prospect in the minors and held his own in the big leagues initially, but he hasn’t enjoyed much success since the early part of the 2012 season. The 26-year-old actually led the Astros with 55 RBI in 2012, but this was more of a statement of how awful the team was than anything else. He hit just .250/.272/.378 with seven home runs and an ugly 82/10 K/BB ratio over 86 games with Houston last season and missed quite a bit of time with a wrist injury.

That Martinez passed through waivers unclaimed in November shows how far he has fallen, but he’ll surely get an opportunity elsewhere soon. However, he’ll have to earn his way back on the major league radar.

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.