Link-O-Rama: Umpires Gone Wild!

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* It wasn’t quite as eventful as Carlos Zambrano’s implosion yesterday, but this afternoon’s Twins-Red Sox game just saw home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor eject both starting catchers and both managers in the same inning, about five minutes apart.

Mike Redmond and Ron Gardenire were tossed in the top of the seventh
after a borderline call at the plate went against the Twins and in the
bottom of the frame Jason Varitek and Terry Francona were thrown out
when Josh Beckett didn’t like the strike zone. Beckett avoided
Tichenor’s wrath despite screaming obscenities from the mound by
smartly turning his back and walking toward second base while Varitek
took up the fight.

* The White Sox may not be ready to call up Gordon Beckham yet, but they did promote him to Triple-A yesterday. Beckham’s final line at Double-A: .299/.366/.497 with four homers, 17 doubles, and a 24/14 K/BB ratio in 38 games.

* It took 180 plate appearances, but Bobby Abreu finally hit his first homer
of the season. Now that Abreu and David Ortiz are both off the schneid,
Russell Martin is the closest thing to a power hitter among the 17 guys
who’re still homerless with at least 100 trips to the plate.

* Now that David Price is in the Rays’ rotation and Matt Wieters is
due to arrive in Baltimore tomorrow, can Braves right-hander Tommy
Hanson be very far behind?

* Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com projects the first 20 picks of this year’s draft, which is less than two weeks away. You’ll be absolutely shocked who he has as the No. 1 pick.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.