Javier Vazquez gets rocked; commence freakout

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Vazquez Yankees.jpgThe early returns on Javier Vazquez’s to pinstripes? Deja vu all over again. He was torched for eight runs on eight hits — including two home runs — a 9-3 loss to the Rays on Friday night. I’d show you the back pages of the New York tabloids panicking and overreacting, but they are too busy talking about some Tiger guy right now.

Vazquez told the New York Daily News that Friday’s failure was a direct result of his failure to execute.

“The first three innings I was making good pitches, but after that I
wasn’t making good pitches,” Vazquez said. “With men on base I was just
rushing too much. Bottom line is I didn’t make my pitches and when you
don’t make pitches and you get the ball in the middle of the plate
they’re going to hit you hard and that’s what happened.”

I love how there’s this belief that Vazquez’s success last season was some creation of the National League East. Granted, he should see some regression with a move back to the American League, any pitcher would, but remember that Vazquez was 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 30/9 K/BB ratio in five starts against the Phillies last season, and they’re hardly chop liver. Expecting a repeat of last season’s results would be silly, especially with his flyball rate, but I have a feeling he’s going to be just fine.

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.