Ump's needless ejection of Beltre bad luck for Red Sox

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On Tuesday night, Phillies slugger Ryan Howard was ejected from a 16-inning loss to the Astros when he argued a questionable check-swing strike call by third base umpire Scott Barry. The hook came quickly, without mercy, and forced the Phillies to move Raul Ibanez to first base and pitcher Roy Oswalt to the outfield.

The Phillies would eventually lose the contest, 4-2.

On Wednesday, an umpire again took center stage when Boston third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected for – well really for nothing. Take it away, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:

So it turns out Adrian Beltre was ejected because he told umpire Dan Bellino that he wasn’t talking to him.

After he struck out in the second inning, Beltre was talking to Felix Hernandez in the Seattle dugout, playfully telling him in Spanish that would hit a home run his next time up. As the two went back and forth, Bellino somehow thought Beltre was speaking to him.

When Beltre told him twice that he wasn’t, he was tossed out.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Beltre said. “I never said anything to him. Nothing.”

One thing Abraham fails to mention is that Beltre had complained loudly about the third strike called on him in the second inning – a pitch right down the middle at the knees, mind you – so the Red Sox third baseman isn’t completely innocent in all of this. Watch the video here.

That being said, ejecting a guy for saying “I wasn’t talking to you,” is out of line. Nobody goes to a game to watch an umpire, especially a minor league fill-in umpire, as Bellino is. Without their star third baseman, the Red Sox went on to lose to the Mariners 4-2, missing a chance to pull within 4 1/2 games of co-AL East leaders New York and Tampa Bay.

That doesn’t mean the Red Sox would have won the game if Beltre had played the entire game. But you hate to see a quick hook from a minor league umpire affecting a playoff race in any form.

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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.