Next up: Managers of the Year

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They’ll be announcing both AL and NL Manager of the Year today.  Let’s break it down scientifically:

One look at MLB.com’s rundown of the candidates shows you who’s gonna win this thing in the American League. It’s all Mike Scioscia, folks.  The reasoning kind of goes like this:  “Nice season, Ron Gardenhire. You showed great patience in coming back from so many games down so late in the season. How much harder it would have been to do that IF ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS WERE TRAGICALLY KILLED!”

Or:

“Way to turn traditional weaknesses into strengths, Ron Washington.  The fact that Texas had great pitching and played great defense and hung around that race so much longer than anyone expected is a testament to your leadership. How much harder it would have been to do that IF ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS WERE TRAGICALLY KILLED!”

You sorta see where this one is heading.  Lots of good jobs posted by AL Managers this year. Only one did a good job while leading his team through a potentially debilitating tragedy like the death of Nick Adenhart.  A manager doesn’t control nearly as many things as people think, but he does ensure that his team is mentally prepared to play each night, and Mike Scioscia did that in 2009, and he did it in tougher circumstances than the other guys.  It’s his award, and a it’s a well-deserved one.

The NL doesn’t have anything quite so dramatic, but almost as decisive as the “you win the award WHEN ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS IS TRAGICALLY KILLED” rule is the “you win the award when you took over for a guy who had the team floundering after 46 games and led the team on a red-hot tear the rest of the season” rule.

Let’s see, who fits that description this year? Oh, only Jim Tracy, and to expect anyone else to have a chance at it is pure folly.  Torre, La Russa and Cox can compete for the gold watch award next season. This season it’s the man who brought the Rockies back from the dead.

Awards will be announced at 1:30ish.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

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.