Stat of the day: Infield hits & bunt hits

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Here are the infield hit leaders, listed along with their number of bunt hits.
Numbers taken from Fangraphs.com
1. Ichiro Suzuki – 49 – 6
2. Michael Bourn – 29 – 17
3. Carl Crawford – 27 – 0
3. Shane Victorino – 27 – 0
5. Cristian Guzman – 26 – 1
6. Ryan Braun – 25 – 0
6. Jacoby Ellsbury – 25 – 9
6. Scott Podsednik – 25 – 5
9. Everth Cabrera – 23 – 13
9. Matt Kemp – 23 – 3
And here’s bunt hits, along with each player’s number of infield hits:
1. Erick Aybar – 18 – 15
2. Emilio Bonifacio – 17 – 18
2. Michael Bourn – 17 – 29
4. Willy Taveras – 15 – 13
5. Nyjer Morgan – 14 – 15
6. Everth Cabrera – 13 – 23
6. Rafael Furcal – 13 – 19
8. Denard Span – 10 – 19
9. Luis Castillo – 9 – 18
9. Jacoby Ellsbury – 9 – 25
9. Chone Figgins – 9 – 13
– Ichiro does rather stand out up there, doesn’t he? But I wonder if he wouldn’t be even better if he attempted a few more bunts. He’s 6-for-10 reaching base when he gets a bunt down this year, and he’s over 50 percent for his career.
But, then, I also wonder if he wouldn’t be worse off for it. Ichiro may just be the one hitter in baseball who doesn’t benefit from having the infield come in against him. His ability to beat out seemingly routine grounders is legendary. He probably doesn’t want the shortstop and second baseman any further in than they already are.
– Ichiro aside, the great “bunt for hitters” are generally in the 40s as far as reaching first when they get a bunt down. Cabrera (50), Bourn (47) and Ellsbury (47) are the best of the guys on the leaderboard. Castillo is the low man at 28 percent.
Also in the 50 percent club are Colby Rasmus (7-for-14) and B.J. Upton (6-for-12). Troy Tulowitzki and Brian Roberts are both 4-for-5. Bunting against the shift, Carlos Pena is 5-for-8 and Jack Cust is 3-for-3. Kemp is also 3-for-3.
– Back to infield hits, here’s the bottom of the leaderboard:
1. Brian McCann – 2
1. Bengie Molina – 2
1. Daniel Murphy – 2
4. Jermaine Dye – 3
4. Brad Hawpe – 3
4. Paul Konerko – 3
4. Brad Hawpe – 3
4. Andy LaRoche – 3
4. Carlos Pena – 3

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.