After Dan Uggla put the Braves ahead of the Phillies in the top of the ninth this evening in Philadelphia with a grand slam off Jake Diekman, David Carpenter — not Craig Kimbrel — came out to finish off the victory. Now we know why.
Kevin McAlpin of 680 The Fan in Atlanta reports that Kimbrel was unavailable tonight due to right shoulder soreness. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said that the issue crept up over the weekend. For now, it doesn’t appear to be a major concern, as Kimbrel said after the game that he hopes to be good to go after “a few days.”
Perhaps this will turn out to be nothing, but a shoulder issue with the game’s best closer is obviously worth watching. The Braves will cross their fingers for now.
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.