Phillies “highly unlikely” to re-sign free agent Jamie Moyer

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Jamie Moyer officially became a free agent yesterday and Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that the Phillies are “highly unlikely” to re-sign the 48-year-old left-hander.

Philadelphia hastened Moyer’s arrival on the open market by placing him on waivers in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster immediately and the 267-game winner is expected to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic in an effort to drum up some interest for 2011.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. indicated that the Phillies might be open to bringing Moyer back on a non-guaranteed minor league contract, but told Zolecki that’s likely where their interest would end:

I don’t know if Jamie would accept anything like that, but we haven’t had any discussions about it. I think more than anything else there are some questions about his health. Obviously his age is a factor. But we have to consider our starting pitching depth and see whether or not bringing Jamie back is the right thing for us.

Even without making any changes to the rotation the Phillies could enter 2011 with a starting five of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, and Kyle Kendrick, so they may not have room for Moyer even if he looks healthy this winter.

Acquired from the Mariners in mid-2006 and later re-signed to a pair of two-year contracts, Moyer went 56-40 with a 4.55 ERA in 721 innings spread over four-and-a-half seasons in Philadelphia, which is pretty remarkable given that he was already 43 years old when he joined the team.

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.