You know how I feel about open letters, but this one from the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to Pirate owner Bob Nutting is pretty good for the genre:
Dear Mr. Nutting,
Major league sports is a brutal business. What with aggressive
player agents, deep-pocketed competitors and more venues vying for the
public’s entertainment dollar, it is not a pursuit for the faint of
Still, your family has had an ownership stake in the Pirates for 14
years and you’ve been the controlling owner since January 2007. Not
once during the Nuttings’ involvement has the team had a winning
season. The Pirates’ streak of 17 losing campaigns exceeds any run of
futility in the history of professional sports. It is, no doubt, as
frustrating for you as it is for the fans.
The difference between you and the other Pirates faithful, though, is you can do something about it.
The letter goes on to describe the epic-ness of Nutting’s fail, and implores him to call Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle and sell the team already. I’m sure there are countless Pirates fans who nodded in approval as they read this over their Count Chocula this morning.
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 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.