Citi Field and the mob

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I’d say “only in New York,” but I spent a fair amount of time in my
legal practice doing construction law, and I learned that this kind of thing happens in
lots of places
:

The Mets shelled out $51.6 million in taxpayer money to contractors
shunned by the city for their ties to the Mafia, labor corruption or
bribery, The Post has learned. At least seven contractors the
city avoids were hired by the team to build Citi Field between 2006 and
2009, according to government records.

The tainted companies were paid from a $91 million pot the city Economic Development Corp. gave to the Mets.

It’s probably worth noting that a “tainted” company doesn’t mean a mobbed-up company any more than a company on some city-approved list is legitimate. There are tons of mob-connected or at the very least shady construction outfits on municipal approved lists all over the country because they made the right political contributions.

Likewise, there are lots of legit companies that are on non-approved lists because they wouldn’t play ball with with the right people. With “right people” usually being defined as a nogoodnik crony who got appointed to some mid-level job in the public works department because his brother-in-law knows people who knows people or something.  Big city construction is ugly.

And besides: which is the bigger misuse of money: $51.6 million to the mafia, or $36 million to Oliver Perez?

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.