Earlier this week Royals left-hander Bruce Chen described himself as being in “constant pain” because of a swollen disk in his back, but planned to pitch through the pain. He won’t get a chance to do that, however, as the Royals have placed him on the disabled list.
Chen posted a 7.45 ERA in four starts this season and isn’t exactly an ace even when he’s healthy, so there was little reason for the Royals to keep trotting him out there every fifth day at obviously less than 100 percent.
Danny Duffy will step into Chen’s rotation spot and it’s entirely possible that by the time the 37-year-old southpaw is ready to return from the DL the Royals will want to stick with the 25-year-old southpaw anyway. Of course, they re-signed Chen to a two-year contract just months ago, so maybe not.
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.