Halladay and Lincecum named All-Star starters

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Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum have been chosen to start tomorrow
night’s All-Star game and both managers revealed their lineups this
morning:

   AMERICAN LEAGUE                 NATIONAL LEAGUE
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF 1. Hanley Ramirez, SS
2. Derek Jeter, SS 2. Chase Utley, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C 3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Mark Teixeira, 1B 4. Ryan Braun, RF
5. Jason Bay, LF 5. Raul Ibanez, LF
6. Josh Hamilton, CF 6. David Wright, 3B
7. Evan Longoria, 3B 7. Shane Victorino, CF
8. Aaron Hill, 2B 8. Yadier Molina, C
9. Roy Halladay, SP 9. Tim Lincecum, SP

Lincecum is the reigning Cy Young winner and ranks second in ERA
this year, so he’s the easy pick to start for the NL. Halladay isn’t
quite as much of a slam dunk for the AL, because Zack Greinke was the
league’s best pitcher during the first half, but Halladay wasn’t far
behind and has been one of the league’s elite pitchers for a decade
now. All in all, it’s a great pairing.

Shane Victorino goes from being added via the “Final Vote” process
to starting in place of the injured Carlos Beltran, because with Raul
Ibanez and Ryan Braun in the corners the NL outfield needed someone
actually capable of chasing down fly balls in the gaps. It’s
interesting to note how much more power the NL has in the first three
spots in the lineup.

Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter, and Joe Mauer have combined for 31
homers in 1,044 plate appearances, and that’s with Mauer already
setting a career-high in long balls. Hanley Ramirez, Chase Utley, and
Albert Pujols have combined for 66 homers in 1,111 plate appearances.
On the other hand, Aaron Hill has 20 homers and ranks second in the
league in total bases, yet is batting eighth for the AL.

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.