Russell Branyan's 20th homer yet another solo shot

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All-or-nothing slugger Russell Branyan hit his 20th homer Wednesday off Josh Beckett, but it came in a losing cause as the Red Sox topped the Mariners 5-3. It was his 12th solo homer of the year, and he has just 45 RBI.
Of course, the Mariners aren’t putting a ton of guys on base for Branyan. But the modest RBI totals are typical for the 34-year-old. In 2009, Branyan had 31 homers and 76 RBI in 431 at-bats for the Mariners. In 2008, he somehow drove in just 20 runs while hitting 12 homers in 132 at-bats for the Brewers.
Branyan is one of four players in baseball history to average less than 2.5 RBI per home run over a career of at least 1,000 plate appearances. You might be able to guess two of the others:
Russell Branyan – 184 HR, 441 RBI – 2.40 RBI/HR
Mark McGwire – 583 HR, 1,414 RBI – 2.43 RBI/HR
Adam Dunn – 347 HR, 855 RBI – 2.46 RBI/HR
Bill Schroeder – 61 HR, 152 RBI – 2.49 RBI/HR
Ken Phelps – 123 HR, 313 RBI – 2.54 RBI/HR
Branyan is also the all-time leader in homers for players with fewer than 500 RBI:
1. Russell Branyan – 184 HR, 441 RBI
2. Steve Balboni – 181 HR, 495 RBI
3. Ron Kittle – 176 HR, 460 RBI
4. Nick Swisher – 155 HR, 476 RBI
5. Chris Hoiles – 151 HR, 449 RBI
6. Cory Snyder – 149 HR, 488 RBI
6. Dan Uggla – 149 HR, 440 RBI
8. Bo Jackson – 141 HR, 415 RBI
8. John Jaha – 141 HR, 490 RBI
8. Ty Wigginton – 141 HR, 488 RBI
None of that makes Branyan a bad player. But he is unique. Throw strikeouts into the mix, and I’m guessing one could use Baseball-Reference’s play index to create dozens of leaderboards on which he’s an all-time leader.

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.