From Bill Brink at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette …
Jason Grilli threw another 20-pitch simulated game and said he felt good.
“I would venture a guess that Saturday would be a real strong likely case that I would be out there,” Grilli said.
It was important for Grilli to face major league hitters rather than minor league competition. He said he does not need a rehab assignment.
Grilli has been on the disabled list since April 21 because of a left oblique strain. Mark Melancon has done an admirable job as the Pirates’ fill-in closer over the past four weeks but will presumably slide back into a setup role by early next week.
Grilli has a 2.83 ERA and 40 saves in 149 1/3 innings since joining the Bucs in 2011.
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.