UPDATE: In addition to saying that Miguel Cabrera was going to have the biggest year of his life — see below — Jim Leyland just threw one right into my wheelhouse. Jeff Passan is on the scene passing quotes along:
“Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life. He’s stronger than he’s ever been. And he’s quicker than he’s ever been.”
The BSOML meme is officially broken. I can’t write about it with a straight face anymore. Well, I probably still will, but I’ll never top Leyland. Leyland went on to say this about Cabrera’s arrest:
“It has no effect. It might make some dramatic reading material. It’s not going to do shit. Believe me. Nothing.”
I laud Leyland for having his player’s back. But that’s a bridge too far. Cabrera may have a good season because, after all, he’s a great player. But the man also has a serious problem with alcohol, and that’s not nothing. There will be an effect. There has to be, because Miguel Cabrera needs to change his life.
9:06 A.M.: Jim Leyland spoke to reporters this morning. I would not have guessed beforehand that this is something he’d say about Miguel Cabrera
“he’s probably going to have the biggest year of his life”
Well, it has certainly started out with a bang.
Although I suppose it’s entirely possible too. If there is any bright side at all to this — and yes, I realize I’m reaching — it’s that this happened just as spring training is getting underway. There are obviously major issues to deal with here — this was not a case of one too many beers at the barbecue — but he has a month and a half in which his primary job is to focus on physical conditioning. And those around him, including Leyland, the front office, teammates and other, have more time to help him get his head right than they would if the routines of the regular season were underway.
At least that’s the hope.
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 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.