Thanks again, HBT readers!

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With the trade deadline in our rear view mirror, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of the HBT Multiverse* for clicking in and reading us as the rumors went wild and the news nuggets flew these past couple of weeks.

Traffic was through the roof in July. That’s nice, but even nicer is that there has been a nice steady climb in readership of the blog each month since the day we started it last year.  That means that you’re not only showing up for the big news and transactions, but that you’re sticking around for the highs and lows of the baseball season too. We’re glad you’ve come and we’re glad you’ve stayed.

I know the redesign was rocky and at times annoying and I know that no one needs to see my pasty mug on video six times a week, but through all that adversity, you folks have remained loyal and — more importantly — haven’t stopped giving us the business in the comments when we’ve needed it.  We view this blog as a conversation, and we’re happy you’re talking back.

We’re pumped as hell for the pennant races to start sizzling this month and next, and from the playoffs through the winter meetings and on into next spring we’re going to keep it rockin’ like Dokken for you.

In the meantime, never hesitate to click the little “tip/feedback” button to the left to tell us what you’re hearing, what you like, what you hate and anything and everything else you can think of short of requests to help you “liberate certain funds that are on deposit with the Central Bank of Nigeria.” Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. Fool us three, four and five times, well, that was Gleeman’s fault. He thought we were due.

I lost my train of thought.  So let me just explain — wait, that would take too long, so let me sum up — by saying, once again, thanks!

*Take that Yankees and Red Sox. You can have your puny universes and nations.

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.