Giants’ catcher Bengie Molina got smacked in the left hand by a foul tip yesterday and had to leave the game. Bruce Bochy put Eli Whiteside in. Whiteside can’t hit. Neither can Molina for that matter. Buster Posey raked all season in the minor leagues, yet has only been given three (3) plate appearances since his callup at the beginning of the month. This all makes sense to Bochy, I assume, but he hasn’t really explained it.
One would think that with Molina down and the Giants almost certainly out of the wild card race, Bochy would finally give Posey a start or at least some playing time. I’d bet dollars to donuts that Whiteside starts tonight, however, because Bochy has absolutely no trust whatsoever in the Giants’ best hitting prospect since Matt Williams.
But like I said, the Giants are done so maybe it doesn’t matter. The real question is what they plan to do next year. If they have a lick of sense they will start with the assumption that Buster Posey will be the starting catcher. They will do so because they will realize — in hindsight, but still — that if they had had even a lick of hitting in 2009 they would have likely made the playoffs on the back of their superior pitching staff.
If they don’t — and if, instead, they spend the money that should go to a big bat on a Bengie Molina extension and relegate Posey to AAA once again — you can pretty much kiss off their chances for another year.
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 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.