The Rangers' sale deadline is today

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Tom Hicks has been told by Major League Baseball that he needs to pick the winning bidder in the Rangers’ sale today and to commence negotiations to finalize a deal.  No doubt today was picked as the deadline so that everyone can be free to celebrate my daughter’s sixth birthday later this evening.

Hicks may or may not meet that deadline the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports a source saying that it’s only 50-50 that he’ll pick today — but there is a clear front runner, at least on financial terms. It’s Houston businessman Jim Crane, whose bid is said to be higher than either Pittsburgh lawyer Chuck Greenberg’s or former agent Dennis Gilbert’s.

The article notes, however, that Crane is not a popular figure in MLB circles because he once reneged on a deal to buy the Astros. Also working against him is the fact that Gilbert is said to be a favorite of Jerry Reinsdorf, which automatically makes him a favorite of Bud Selig’s.  They’re a clannish bunch, those owners, and they like to reward their friends.

The lawyer and Tom Hicks-hater in me wants a low bid to win because if that happens maybe some investor in Hicks Sports Group will sue Hicks for breaching his fiduciary duties to the debt-addled company, which in turn will better expose the rampant cronyism that takes place in the franchise sale market. Plus, if Glibert wins, there are indications that hey’ll be baseball’s answer to Daniel Snyder, and that would be great fun for everyone except Rangers’ fans.

Likely? Nah. But a boy can dream, can’t he?

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.