The Cardinals may be in on the Cliff Lee Derby

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Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse risks being sued by Scott Boras for using the phrase “mystery team” in referring to a Cliff Lee rumor, but he’ll take that risk to bring you the latest rumor. And the rumor is this: The Cardinals may be the “mystery team” making a play for Cliff Lee. Price suggest that the Cardinals’ 19 year-old pitching prospect Shelby Miller could be the bait.

I have a hard time featuring any play by St. Louis for Lee. For one thing, their biggest problem right now is that they have way too many holes in their lineup. Their problems are not the top of their rotation.  For another thing, given the need to lock up Albert Pujols, the Cardinals aren’t in any position to give Cliff Lee a big contract after the season, which would basically make him a rental.  In that case, Miller is too high a price. But if they go any lower, they’re going to get outbid by the Mets or someone else.

So I guess what I’m not really buying this one. It’s worth posting it, though, if for no other reason than to be able to revisit the old “Mystery Team” meme. We usually only get to see that in December and January. With all the hot weather we’ve been having lately, it’s quite refreshing, actually.

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.