Link-O-Rama: Cubs not interested in bringing Harden back

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* Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs “have no plans” to re-sign impending free agent Rich Harden despite the oft-injured right-hander saying publicly that he’d like to stay in Chicago. Minnesota made a run for Harden prior to the trading deadline, but an incentive-laden deal from a big-payroll team seems like the most probable scenario.
* Team USA lost their tournament opener and then won 14 straight games to capture back-to-back World Cup titles, defeating Cuba in the championship game yesterday. Cuba had won nine straight World Cup titles before losing to the United States in 2007. Rangers prospect and 2008 first-round pick Justin Smoak was named MVP of the tournament after hitting nine homers with 22 RBIs in 15 games.
* Nate Schierholtz has been swinging at everything while posting awful strikeout-to-walk ratios for his entire pro career, which spans 800 games and 3,100 plate appearances between the majors and minors. All of which makes Giants manager Bruce Bochy’s contention that playing winter ball this offseason “will help him learn the strike zone” kind of silly.
* Omar Vizquel has spent this season backing up Elvis Andrus in Texas and the majors’ oldest position player said yesterday that he’s planning to play in 2010. Vizquel was a starter for the first 20 years of his career, but the 42-year-old has hit .266/.319/.343 while logging just 187 plate appearances as a full-time backup this season.
* San Francisco is unlikely to exercise the $8.1 million option on Freddy Sanchez for 2010 and the impending free agent indicated yesterday that he’d rather hit the open market than agree to a new deal with the Giants at a lower salary.
* Ozzie Guillen clarified that he doesn’t hate football, he just hates football after his team gives up 12 unanswered runs after leading 5-0.

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.