Link-O-Rama: Kevin Gregg will get nothing and like it

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* Impending free agent Kevin Gregg said yesterday that he’d like to re-sign with the Cubs and be a closer again in 2010. Neither will happen. During the past three seasons Gregg has blown 20 of 104 save chances while losing 19 games and posting a 3.86 ERA. He’s a second-tier setup man, at best.
* Admittedly he’s pretty far down on the Mets’ laundry list of problems this season, but for $8.5 million and a $2 million signing bonus Francisco Rodriguez has allowed 34 runs in 68 innings while blowing seven saves in 41 chances. Of course, unlike Gregg he’s in no danger of being stripped of closer duties thanks to being owed $11.5 million in 2010, $11.5 million in 2011, and $17.5 million or a $3.5 million buyout in 2012. Yeesh.
* Brad Penny tossed a complete-game shutout yesterday, so his final tally after returning to the NL is 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six starts. His totals in the AL were 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 24 starts. Chances that Penny chooses to sign with an NL team as a free agent this winter: 99.9 percent, with the other 0.1 percent reserved for Japan, Triple-A, or retirement.
* Last night’s complete-game shutout of Pawtucket Boston gives Roy Halladay a 2.97 ERA in 12 starts since the trading deadline came and went with him remaining in Toronto. For comparison, Cliff Lee has a 3.28 ERA in 11 starts with the Phillies.
* Ichiro Suzuki has already locked up his ninth straight 200-hit season, but barring one of the greatest four-game stretches in baseball history he’s going to score fewer than 100 runs for the first time.
* If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video of Matt Diaz’s indecisive baserunning basically ending the Braves’ season. Diaz has hit .319/.390/.488 in 425 plate appearances, but something tells me that most fans thinking back to this season won’t remember his hitting.

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.