Sabean: "Triple-A baseball isn't very good"

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posey swining.JPGI understand the pickle Brian Sabean is in.  He has a top prospect in Buster Posey hitting .345 down in Fresno. Calling him up, however, risks making him arbitration eligible a year earlier than he otherwise might be, and the owners clearly don’t want that, what with having screwed that whole process up with Tim Lincecum. The media  asks when they’re going to see Posey every day, but you can’t just say “we’re waiting until June for service time reasons,” because it (a) looks cheap; and (b) may not make Major League Baseball or the union happy.

So what to do? Why, you dump on minor league baseball, that’s what:

“Triple-A baseball isn’t very
good,” Sabean said. “I’m going to tell you that right now. Especially
from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big
leagues.”

That was Sabean’s response when asked why Posey hitting .345 hasn’t earned him a promotion. I’m sure his AAA pitchers — including top prospect Madison Bumgarner — appreciate that. I’m sure Posey appreciates that. I’m sure the front office for the Fresno Grizzlies and all of the people who buy tickets to see them appreciate that.

The thing is, Sabean doesn’t even need to go there. He’s actually getting decent production from his catching combo right now, with Bengie Molina hitting .333/.402/.457 and Eli Whiteside hitting the cover off the ball in limited play.  Will it last? Oh, heck no, but at the moment it provides Sabean plenty of cover to say “we really don’t need help behind the plate right now” and have it sound eminently plausible.

But instead he dumps on his prospect and his farm team.  I just don’t get that. Of course, there are a lot of things about Brian Sabean’s tenure in San Francisco I don’t get. Mostly how it’s lasted this long.  

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.