Jair Jurrjens leaves game early with discomfort in his side

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You know what I can’t wait for? I can’t wait for teams that ridiculously put promising young starting pitchers in the bullpen to start complaining about how they don’t have enough starting pitching.  That’s what I can’t wait for.

In the meantime, the non-deluded teams out there realize that there isn’t anything as valuable as a solid starter. And this is brought home when they lose one, like the Braves might:

Right-hander Jair Jurrjens left his start against the Blue Jays after just one inning on Thursday afternoon because of discomfort in his right side. Jurrjens said the soreness originated near his rib cage, but was not related to his oblique muscle. He believed it was a cramp and that he could have continued pitching, but he left the game for precautionary reasons.

It doesn’t sound serious. And if it does — hey! — the Braves just sent down a guy who could do a pretty decent job of filling in if Jurrjens has to miss some time.  He’s available as a starter, you see, because no one overthought things and convinced someone that he should be in the bullpen. Because the Braves understand that you can string together a bullpen if you have to, but that a young starting pitcher is a valuable asset.

And if you think I’m a bit animated about this, well, you’re right.  Because I just wrote my damn Texas Rangers preview in which I pegged everything to Neftali Feliz starting the year in the rotation, and now the Rangers have gone and made that inoperative.  Craigy isn’t big on timing. Craigy isn’t big on editing. Craigy is big on holding petty grudges, though, so yeah, I’m gonna stew for a while.

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.