The Mets have another heavy lawsuit on their hands

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It was nearly four years ago when I first heard the name Ellen Massey. She’s the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Mets that, while not as sexy as the Madoff stuff, has its own special appeal: On Opening Day, 2007, Massey was fallen on by a 300-pound man who came hurtling out of his seat in her direction, breaking her vertebrae. Massey says the fat guy was drunk and that the Mets are liable because they continued to serve him despite his obvious intoxication.

My take when I first heard about this case — a mere month after I began blogging back at Shysterball — was that Massey had a theoretically a valid claim: ballpark serves an obviously intoxicated man who later causes injury. The problem, though, was that it would be really hard to actually marshal any evidence.  The falling fat guy’s identity was unknown at the time and it wasn’t at all clear how he could be discovered. And it would likely be difficult to prove that he was intoxicated given that he left the park and there was no police report or anything.  I figured it was deadsville.

Yet, despite all of my skepticism, the case is going to trial, reports the New York Post.  Over the past four years Ms. Massey has learned the fat guy’s identity — Timothy Cassidy — and got the depositions of multiple witnesses speaking to his behavior prior to the incident. That’s enough to get her past the summary judgment stage and now she gets to take the Mets to trial.

If I represented the Mets, I’d rather be handling that case than the Madoff case. I always enjoyed the stuff with actual humanity much better than document-intensive financial cases. And there isn’t much more humanity than a 300 pound drunk guy falling on people in Shea Stadium on Opening Day.

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.