Dallas Braden doesn't like the "Get off my mound" shirts. Pardon me, your majesty

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We passed along word last week that the A’s were selling “Get off my mound” t-shirts in honor of the Yankees’ return to Oakland.  Sounded like a great idea to me in a fun, self-effacing kind of way. But apparently they don’t do self-deprecation in the 209, because Dallas Braden hates the shirts:

“They’re trying to generate revenue, trying to get butts in the seats, I
can see that. It’s almost like, at what cost do you do
that? They didn’t have permission. They were told on multiple occasions
that, no, it’s not a good idea. It’s not going to be approved. They just
kind of put the horse-blinders on and ran with it . . . . . It’s just not cool. It’s just a serious, gross lack of tact. At the end
of the day, I hope I do not become associated with that kind of
approach.”

Hey Dallas: if you didn’t want to be “associated with that kind of approach,” perhaps you shouldn’t have barked like some kind of loon about the sanctity of Greater Bradenia. As it is, you made a fool out of yourself and everyone is having fun with it now. Even A-Rod who, according to the Daily News article linked above, got a big laugh out of the fact that Robby Cano wore one of the shirts in the clubhouse before the game in order to taunt him.

Upon closer reading it’s hard to tell if Braden’s displeasure is about the shirt itself or if he’s really upset that it’s not MLBPA approved and thus (a) does not have his name and likeness on it; and (b) he does not get a cut of the sales.  Probably a little of both.  Which means that he’s got no sense of humor and that he’s trying to cover his business savvy with a mock (or at least mockable) sense of decorum.

Of course if Braden really wanted to get in on the shirt money, I’m assuming he could have told the MLBPA that he was all for it, they would have approved it and he’d have some extra dough.  So this probably is more a matter of Braden being embarrassed about the whole “get off my mound” incident than it is a business thing.

In which case I’d advise him that one looks pretty silly trying to distance oneself from one’s own words in the space of a couple of months. Better to just own it dude.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

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.