Another ugly season for the Mets just got uglier.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, starting pitcher Jon Niese has been diagnosed with a strained left shoulder and placed on the 15-day disabled list. Niese left his Friday start against the Rangers after being struck on the back by a line drive but that has nothing to do with this shoulder injury, which has been lingering and could threaten to sideline the lefty for a considerable amount of time.
Rubin notes that Niese’s fastball velocity is at a career-low average of 88.6 mph this season — down from 90.2 mph in 2013. But he’s still been pretty effective at that diminished speed, posting a 2.96 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 103 1/3 innings. Dillon Gee (lat) will replace him in the Mets’ starting rotation this week.
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.