Trouble once again seeks out, finds A.J. Pierzynski

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Between the second and third innings of last night’s loss to the Twins, the White Sox had an interesting little incident in the dugout involving A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez:

Before the inning ended, Alexi Casilla stole second base, with
Ramirez covering second but the ball sailing past him. The Sox got out
of the inning, but television cameras caught Ramirez and Pierzynski
exchanging words. Moments later, with Pierzynski sitting next to
starting pitcher John Danks, manager Ozzie Guillen picked up a bucket
of gum and spiked it. The gum scattered in front of the dugout.

I’ll give you a few moments to catch your breath upon hearing the shocking news
of Pierzynski’s involvement in something like that. Seriously. Breathe
in, breathe out. OK, ready to continue? As always, Ozzie Guillen provided some good quotes when asked what caused the ruckus:

That’s us, that’s private. I don’t like my players digging into each
other for no reason. I’m the one that makes those calls, I’m the one
that gets into the players’ butts. I was a little upset about it, but
that’s part of the game. I was upset with the way we were playing, too,
and everything came together in the same inning. I was upset because
things like that can’t happen. I’m the one that puts the fingers on the
players because this is my job, and anybody have a problem with that
they know what to do.

Teammates fighting, gum flying, managers getting into players’ butts. What a party!

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.