Nationals sign reliever Shawn Kelley

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As many reporters have speculated throughout the day, the Nationals have reached agreement on a contract with free agent reliever Shawn Kelley. MLB.com’s William Ladson says a pre-signing physical is scheduled for later this week.

Kelley posted an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 63/15 K/BB ratio across 51 1/3 innings of relief this past season for the Padres. The 31-year-old right-hander will likely operate as a setup man in Washington for Drew Storen and closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Oliver Perez has also been added to the Nats’ bullpen this winter, and the club signed Giants castoff Yusmeiro Petit to a one-year contract on Wednesday evening.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.