Tigers expect Joel Zumaya to be ready for spring training

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Joel Zumaya fractured his elbow in an ugly scene back in June and underwent surgery in early July. It looked like he would have a lengthy road back to a major league mound — and he still might — but Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told James Schmehl of MLive.com yesterday that he expects the big right-hander to be ready for spring training.

“(Zumaya’s) recovery is fine. We expect him to be 100 percent when he reports for spring training,” Dombrowski said. “They’ll all pitch at important times. If Joel is healthy, we know he’ll be getting the ball and getting a lot of important outs, no matter when you use him.”

Zumaya, 26, posted a 2.58 ERA and 34/11 K/BB ratio over 38 1/3 innings before going down with the injury. Known for lighting up the radar gun, Zumaya has a long history of injuries and also underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in August of 2009.

The Tigers hope to have him ready for spring training, but with Phil Coke expected to get a shot at the rotation, it’s easy to see why the Tigers felt compelled to add Joaquin Benoit as the top set-up man for Jose Valverde. That doesn’t make handing him a three-year, $16.5 million contract any less questionable, though.

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.