Daily Dose: Bedard hits the DL again

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Erik Bedard came off the disabled list on July 7, went 0-1 with a 4.15
ERA in 17 innings spread over four starts while working on a limited
pitch count, and landed back on the shelf Sunday. Shoulder problems are
once again to blame, and the Mariners are calling the latest issue
inflammation while hoping to get him back in a couple weeks.

While the latest trip to the DL ruins whatever chance the Mariners
had of dealing Bedard prior to Friday’s deadline, the injury should
make it easier for him to pass through waivers unclaimed after July 31.
In other words, if he comes back in two weeks and looks healthy,
Seattle may still have an opportunity to cash Bedard in before he hits
free agency. He’s continued to pitch well throughout the injuries.

While the Mariners keep chugging along just 10 wins from last year’s total, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Brett Gardner has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees, as the
25-year-old rookie hit .275/.354/.400 with 20 steals in 25 attempts and
great defense through 85 games while splitting time with Melky Cabrera
in center field. Unfortunately he suffered a broken left thumb while
sliding into second base Saturday and will be in a cast for the next
couple weeks before being evaluated further.

Triple-A center fielder Austin Jackson is one of baseball’s best
outfield prospects and is hitting .311/.375/.429 with 17 steals in 92
games, but manager Joe Girardi indicated Sunday that the 22-year-old is
unlikely to be called up as Cabrera gets another chance to play every
day. In terms of offense his .285/.347/.433 mark is nearly identical to
Gardner, but Cabrera’s glove and wheels are downgrades.

* After going 0-for-4 in his big-league debut Saturday, Michael
Saunders notched a pair of hits Sunday while driving in his first
career run. Seattle cleared room for Saunders by designating Wladimir
Belantien for assignment in preparation for a trade, leaving Ryan
Langerhans as his only real competition for playing time and all but
guaranteeing the 22-year-old top prospect regular starts down the
stretch.

Saunders batted .290/.374/.484 at Double-A last season before
struggling after a promotion to Triple-A, but mastered Tacoma while
hitting .310/.378/.544 with 13 homers, 30 total extra-base hits, and a
25/48 K/BB ratio in 64 games prior to the call-up. Saunders projects as
a 20-homer hitter with a .275-.290 batting average, double-digit
steals, and solid defense, but he’s not a mixed-league option yet.

* John Smoltz was regularly clocked at 91-93 miles per hour with his
fastball and showed a good slider while getting six strikeouts in five
innings Sunday, but once again struggled by allowing six runs on nine
hits. Lack of fastball command has really hurt Smoltz and he certainly
hasn’t looked great through six starts, but with a 28/5 K/BB ratio in
30.2 innings his 1-3 record and 7.03 ERA are misleading.

* While making absolutely zero promises regarding the ratio of fantasy insight to inane rambling, I’m now on Twitter
and have quickly become addicted to posting stuff throughout the day.
Whether you’re interested in reading the minutiae of my life, my
complaints about the Twins, or half of random conversations I’m having
with people you likely don’t know, come check out @aarongleeman on Twitter!

AL Quick Hits: Justin Morneau went deep twice Sunday, and now
leads the AL in homers and RBIs … With their efforts to acquire Roy
Halladay stalled the Phillies have been scouting Cliff Lee, who threw
seven innings of two-run ball Sunday for his seventh win … With the Red
Sox facing a right-hander Sunday, Mike Lowell was benched in favor of
Adam LaRoche … Bartolo Colon will stay in the rotation and start
Wednesday, with Jose Contreras pushed to Thursday … Cleveland got
reliever Jess Todd from St. Louis to complete the Mark DeRosa trade …
Already battling the flu, Kevin Millwood left Sunday’s start with a
strained gluteus … Brett Cecil stayed on a roll Sunday with seven
frames of one-run ball … Tony Pena Jr. will go to the low minors to
work on becoming a pitcher after posting a .548 OPS as a “hitter” …
Cleveland turned down Boston’s offer of Michael Bowden, Justin
Masterson, and an unnamed outfield prospect for Victor Martinez.

NL Quick Hits: Geovany Soto (oblique) is slated to take batting
practice Monday and could return as soon as next week … Max Scherzer
shut out the Pirates for seven innings Sunday, striking out eight
without a walk … Because of setbacks, Chris Young (shoulder) isn’t
expected to return until September, if at all … Micah Owings exited
Sunday’s start after three innings with shoulder soreness … Dmitri
Young’s comeback officially ended with a torn quadriceps … Joe Blanton
tossed eight innings of two-run ball Sunday and is 7-2 with a 3.21 ERA
and 82/27 K/BB in 15 starts since an ugly April … Still bothered by a
sore hand, Manny Ramirez sat out Sunday’s game … Chad Gaudin stayed on
a roll Sunday by allowing one run over seven innings in a no-decision …
John Lannan cut his ERA to 3.25 after giving up one run in eight
innings Sunday … Colby Ramus was out of the lineup Sunday and will have
his sore heel examined Monday … Derrek Lee missed his second straight
game Sunday with back spasms, giving Jake Fox the start.

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.