A few weeks ago I questioned Dontrelle Willis’ diagnosis (and subsequent DL stint) of social anxiety disorder.
My basis? Nothing scientific or anything — I’m certainly no doctor —
just the words Willis used to describe how he felt, which didn’t sound
a thing like that which you would expect from someone suffering from an
anxiety disorder. Stuff like “I was just playing bad” and “Even when I
went on the DL, I felt fine.” Turns out I’m not the only skeptic:
While few doubt the pressure of playing at the major league level,
at least one mental-health professional raised an eyebrow at the
growing number of social anxiety disorder diagnoses.
“I’m very suspicious of that diagnosis,” said Dr. Allan Lans, a
psychiatrist who practices in New York and has worked with athletes
throughout his career, most notably as a member of the Mets’ staff.
“It’s not like catching the chickenpox; there has to be a history.”
Lans goes on to talk about how rare it would be for someone with a
Major League career path to only begin experiencing the disorder after
making the big leagues. Especially so long after making the big leagues
like Willis and Khalil Greene.
This Lans fellow is only one doctor, and sure, what one doctor says
isn’t determinative of anything, but it certainly makes me wonder about
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
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.