Jair Jurrjens scratched: Brandon Beachy to start against Philly

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OK, so maybe he’s not being punished for talking out of school. Brandon Beachy will get the start for the Braves tonight against the Phillies. Jair Jurrjens has been scratched with a bum knee. It’s Beachy’s big league debut.

I kind of like Beachy, actually. He just turned 24. Between AAA and AA this year he’s 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA, mostly out of the pen. The thing I like the most is that he has struck out 148 dudes in 119 innings while walking only 28.

Still, let the record reflect that in this week’s three-game series, the Phillies will be running out pitchers with 765 starts among them.  The Braves will be running out a trio with 59 combined major league starts. Fifty-two of those starts are from the old man of the group, Tommy Hanson. Against the best team in baseball according to some marginal ranking systems.

Let the record also reflect that, once this news was announced a few minutes ago, my Phillies Phriends on Twitter had the same, simultaneous response: oh, god, the last thing the Phillies need is to face some rookie we’ve never seen before. Dash Treyhorn’s response may have had a bit of hyperbole to it, but I sense real dread: “The Phils would have a better shot against King Felix than a rookie making his MLB debut.”

Such anxiety for a fan base that should have very little of it these days. Further evidence of it was on display when, after ranking Philly first in today’s Power Rankings, the primary response was “you tryin’ to jinx us?” This from people who get really angry whenever I call Philly fans insecure.

But hey: no pressure. The champion-presumptive of Major League Baseball is going nuclear by throwing its three best starters against a faltering team who are throwing out a trio of starters who probably have shaved six times combined.

No pressure.

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.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.