Your first “Cliff Lee wasn’t cut out for New York” article of the day

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It’s one thing for Cliff Lee to decide that he’s not cut out for New York. Or for him to think that he’s simply better-cut-out for someplace else.  It’s another thing altogether for people who don’t know a thing about the guy to assume they know that. Guys like George Vecsey of the New York Times:

The Yankees, who had dreamed of throwing C. C. Sabathia and Lee as twin aces, always expect to get their man. Big Bronx bucks are almost always enough to bring anybody to the Bronx. Some of them thrive — Mark Teixeira, Sabathia, Hideki Matsui, David Cone,Paul O’Neill, and even Alex Rodriguez, in his diva way. But there is a whole history of players who have not thrived in New York, for one reason or another: Johnson, Brown, Pavano. It’s not for everybody. And presumably not for Cliff Lee from Arkansas.

Or, as we noted this morning, maybe Lee thinks he’s so awesome that he’s willing to gamble the greater guaranteed dollars the Yankees offered him for the chance at the greater money the Phillies will pay him if his 2016 option vests.  Maybe New York was too timid for him.

In all seriousness though, it seems inevitable that certain Yankees fans and certain New York writers will rush to make what is a baseball personnel matter into a referendum on the player’s guts or character. To make it the presumption that New York is where everyone wants to be and, if it doesn’t work out that way, it was the player’s issues, not their own.  I can’t express to you how grating I find that to be.

I’m not predisposed to like giant cities. I was also once offered a job in New York. My decision not to take the job had nothing to do with my taste for giant cities and everything to do with the money and the employer and the job and all of that. If it was a close call, yeah, then lifestyle and stuff would have been important, but it didn’t get that far.  A lot of people are like that, I imagine.

Some people would simply rather play for the Philadelphia Phillies, ya know?

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.