Chan Ho Park wants to start again, but he should stick to relieving

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This morning Craig discussed the continued uncertainty surrounding whether Joba Chamberlain will start or relieve for the Yankees, but he’s not the only pitcher unclear about his role for 2010.
Philadelphia is interested in re-signing Chan Ho Park as a reliever after he thrived in that role this season, but the 36-year-old free agent and longtime starter is also being offered rotation spots elsewhere.
“I want to be a starter again,” Park told the Korea Times. “Being a starter is more attractive for me, because I can take over a whole game.” Meanwhile, agent Jeff Borris explained that “we’re really not shutting the door on any possibilities right now” while noting that multiple teams have expressed interest in Park for both roles.
If he truly wants to be a full-time starter again then Park should sign with a team willing to hand him a rotation spot no questions asked, because this will likely be his last multi-year contract and final chance to dictate his role. However, if he’s interested in picking the role in which he’s actually most likely to have success there’s no question that he should stick to the bullpen.
In his last 34 starts–which is basically equal to one full season in a rotation–Park has gone 9-9 with a 5.05 ERA in 194.1 innings. During that same time period Park made 91 relief appearances, posting a 3.45 ERA in 125 innings. He hasn’t had an ERA below 4.80 during any season with double-digit starts since way back in 2001, but Park had a 2.52 ERA out of the Phillies’ bullpen this season and posted a 3.84 mark as a reliever last year. Stick to relieving, Chan Ho, you’re really good at it.

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.