ATLANTA -- Nearly four years after coming out of retirement to resurrect his career in an impressive manner, Blaine Boyer is looking forward to the opportunity to reunite with the Braves and pitch just a few miles from his childhood home.Though there was still a chance he might have gained
ATLANTA -- Nearly four years after coming out of retirement to resurrect his career in an impressive manner, Blaine Boyer is looking forward to the opportunity to reunite with the Braves and pitch just a few miles from his childhood home.
Though there was still a chance he might have gained guaranteed money on a Major League deal that another club might have eventually offered, Boyer jumped at the chance to sign a Minor League deal with the Braves on Tuesday night. The 35-year-old right-hander will go to Spring Training with a legitimate shot of earning an Opening Day spot in Atlanta's bullpen.
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With Jim Johnson, Arodys Vizcaino, Mauricio Cabrera, Jose Ramirez, Ian Krol, Chaz Roe, Josh Collmenter and Rule 5 Draft selectee Armando Rivero, the Braves already had decent depth within their bullpen. But the uncertainty and youth these candidates provide led the club to pursue Boyer with the hope that his veteran presence will provide some stability and leadership to this group.
Boyer is looking forward to the chance to experience the Braves' first season at SunTrust Park and provide both his wife and children an opportunity to remain in their suburban Atlanta residence over the course of an entire year. He spent the past three years pitching for the Padres, Twins and Brewers.
While combining to complete 131 innings (129 appearances) with the Twins and Padres over the past two seasons, Boyer has compiled a 3.23 ERA -- the 25th-best mark among all relievers who completed at least 125 innings within this span.
Boyer broke into the Majors as one of the Baby Braves -- the group of rookies who helped Atlanta capture the last of 14 consecutive division titles in 2005. The Marietta, Ga., native remained with his hometown team until being traded to the Cardinals during the 2009 season. He has compiled a 4.17 ERA over 405 1/3 innings during his career.
After healing both physically and mentally as he remained retired for a year, Boyer spent a majority of the 2013 season pitching in Japan. He returned to the Majors with the Padres midway through the 2014 season and then truly began resurrecting his career.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.