Joe Girardi contemplates a change in uniform number

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Girardi famously selected number 27 to serve as championship inspiration when he was hired last year. Yesterday he said that he may make a move to 28:

That’s something I talked to Brian Cashman briefly about today. I think I will. I’ve got to talk to Shelley Duncan to see if he allows me to wear it.”

It’s cute that anyone cares what Shelley Duncan thinks in all of this.  More to the point, however, Girardi should probably ask whoever speaks for Sparky Lyle, Spud Chandler, Charlie Keller, Al Leiter, Tommy Byrne, David Justice, Melky Cabrera and Chad Curtis, all of whom have a stronger claim on the number than does Duncan. If the Yankees repeat and Girardi wants to change again, he’ll have to go through Mike Stanton and the estate of Catfish Hunter for number 29.  Willie Randoph checks in at 30 and Dave Winfield at 31.

It’s all a matter of negotiation until he gets to 32. That was Elston Howard, and his number is retired, so there’s probably not a chance of him taking it.  Of course if the Yankees win four more titles before Girardi is done managing he’ll have the juice to demand just about anything he wants. Not that it will matter. If that happens every non Yankee fan in the world will have killed himself by then, and baseball will probably cease to be.

(thanks to Bronx Banter for the historical Yankee uniform numbers).

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.