Ortiz apologizes, MLB confuses

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As expected, this afternoon’s press
conference with David Ortiz was a big ol’ dud
. If anything, it was an
orchestrated performance by incoming union head Michael
Weiner, propped up by a statement released by Major League Baseball
this morning
urging “the press and the public to use caution in
reaching conclusions based on leaks of names, particularly from sources
whose identities are not revealed.” As Weiner stated during the press
conference, just because someone is included on the list doesn’t
necessarily mean that the player used a banned substance. Wha wha?




Big
Papi was legally bound from saying much, but he took the the
opportunity to predictably deny his use of steroids while apologizing
to the fans, his teammates and his manager:




“I
definitely was a little bit careless. I was buying supplements and
vitamins over the counter … but I never buy steroids or use steroids.”




“I’m
not here to make excuses or anything. I want to apologize to the fans
for the distraction, my teammates, my manager. We go into a situation
now, it was a nightmare to me.”




Meanwhile, Weiner — who looked like he fell out of bed and ran to the proceedings like Ferris Bueller — sounded all lawyery and unioney:



“Substantial
scientific questions exist as to the interpretation of some of the 2003
test results. The more definitive methods that are utilized by the lab
that administers the current drug agreement were not utilized by the
lab responsible for the anonymous testing program in 2003. The
collective bargaining parties did not pursue definitive answers
regarding these inconclusive results, since those answers were
unnecessary to the administration of the 2003 program.”




Weiner named Androstenedione — the supplement made famous by Mark
McGwire — as an example, pointing out that while it is a banned
substance now, it wasn’t in 2003. He also reiterated MLB’s contention
that eight players, and possibly more, of the 104 siezed by the
government in 2004 did not test positive for PEDs. And of those 96
remaining names, 13 were inconclusive and possibly include multiple
tests on the same player.

Well, if MLB’s intention was to make the whole controversy even more vague
and confusing — which I believe it was — mission frickin’ accomplished, guys. Isn’t there a game on or
something?

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.