The Nats' first round pick will sign quickly

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While the Stephen Strasburg negotiations could be long and nasty, the Nats apparently aren’t going to have any trouble with their second first round pick:

The
Nationals, who took San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the
No. 1 overall selection, couldn’t resist taking another pitcher early.
[Drew] Storen was 7-1 with a 3.80 ERA and seven saves with 66
strikeouts in 42.2 innings this season . . . Storen, a draft-eligible
sophomore who could return to school, made it clear he won’t.

“It’s a done deal,” he said. “I can’t get a better situation than this. It’s a perfect situation for me.”

Note
to the Nats’ players: don’t make Storen your union rep once he makes
the big club, because tough negotiations aren’t exactly his forte

I
kid Storen. He may not have been the best player available when the
Nats’ picked him, but based on everything I’ve read, he’s a “finished
product,” as they say, who, as Matthew notes,
could very well be in the Nats’ bullpen very, very soon. If I was him
I’d (a) thank the Nats’ profusely for taking me where they did; and (b)
sign on the dotted line and get my butt throwing live pitches for money
ASAP. If he does that, he could get a nice political boost within an
organization that will no doubt be in Strasburg-related agony for the
next two months. Indeed, the Nats are going to have every incentive in
the world to showcase Storen, both to placate fans and to tease
Strasburg with all that he’s missing.

So good for the kid from Indianapolis, who will very likely benefit from the Boras-inflicted ugliness to come.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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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’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.