Rich Harden desperately wants to stay healthy

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Thumbnail image for Harden.jpgRich Harden’s new deal gives him $11.5 million reasons to want to stay healthy. This piece at MLB.com talks about what he’s doing to make that elusive goal come to pass:

Harden has been searching for answers and believes he is getting there.
He works with a private physiotherapist in Phoenix and has worked hard
at tailoring his offseason and in-season workout programs to keep his
shoulder strong. Most important has been his weight-training program.
He backed off that in Oakland to try and protect the shoulder, and only
found that caused more problems.

“I’ve tweaked it as I’ve gone along, added some things, subtracted some
things, and I believe I’ve found something that works,” Harden said.
“I’ve had some injuries, but I’ve worked hard to put it behind me, now
I can get out there and make 30 starts. I feel this is a good fit for
me.”

Not to spook Rangers’ fans, but this sounds like one of those “Player X is in the best shape of his life” articles that you always read in the spring. The ones that are followed with yet another trip to the DL come May 1st.  Harden has been on that DL seven times in five years, and now he’s going to a team where the man in charge makes a big, big point of pitchers going long into games as often as possible.

Like so many people, I love Harden’s stuff and love to see him pitch.  Given his history, however, I just don’t have a strong feeling that we’ll get to see him pitch as much as we’d like — or he’d like — in 2010.

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.