It’s a minor one, but we might have our first injury of this year’s spring training.
According to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Blue Jays reliever Jon Rauch twisted his ankle while walking down a flight of stairs earlier this week at the club’s spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida and missed a scheduled bullpen session Wednesday because of it.
Rauch was able to play long toss on flat ground and should be back atop a mound by this weekend. The Jays are simply playing it safe here in mid-February with their new setup man.
“We just want to be sure that he has passed some tests from a physical standpoint before we put him back on the mound,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said Wednesday in camp. “We’ve got time on our side right now, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be ready once we get into the [Grapefruit League] schedule.”
Rauch, 32, signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with Toronto this winter after posting a 3.12 ERA and 46/14 K/BB ratio across 59 appearances in 2010 for the Twins. He’s expected to work as a setup man this year behind new Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco, who was acquired via trade from the Rangers last month.
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.
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.