Selig talks about the Wilpons, contraction, expanding the playoffs and more

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Bud Selig was on SiriusXM with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo yesterday, and he held forth in his usual Budly manner on the topics of the Mets financial situation, that contraction nonsense, realignment, expanded playoffs and the Barry Bonds trial.  The highlights:

  • The most newsworthy thing of the interview was Bud’s statement that the Mets did not ask major league baseball for a second loan last fall. This contradicts reports that the Mets sought additional assistance from the league after its initial infusion of $25 million. Selig said that no second request was ever made. There have since been reports that the team was working with banks in an attempt to secure additional loans, but according to Bud, they have not approached the league;
  • Russo asked Selig if he ordered Wilpon to hire Sandy Alderson as his general manager, which some have suggested. Selig denied ordering such a thing, but said he shared with Fred his “intense feelings about Sandy.”
  • Selig on the contraction nonsense that won’t die, most recently the one in Forbes: “I’m not sure where that came from.  We have not discussed contraction at all.”  Selig was also critical of the Forbes piece about franchise values, wondering where they get their info given how the owners tend to keep it a secret. Between those two topics, it’s safe to say that Selig is not a fan of Forbes.
  • Selig was more open to the idea of realignment of some kind, hoping that it gets done before his time as Commissioner is up in 2012, but said it’s not on anyone’s radar on the moment.
  • Expanded playoffs, however, are on the agenda and could happen as soon as next year. I agree it’s inevitable. I also hate the idea, but no one asks me about such things.
  • Finally, Selig was asked if he’s following the Barry Bonds trial. He said no, and that he considers the steroids stuff to be a thing of the past:

I’m more concerned with now and what’s gone on the last five years.  I’m damn proud of where we are.  We’ve cleaned up the sport, banned amphetamines, by the way.  And so, Chris, we’re in a position where, you know, I’m testing for HGH in the minor leagues.  We have the severest penalties of any sport.  I had George Mitchell do all that for me but now we’ve moved on and there’s just nothing more to say.”

And thus spake the Commissioner.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

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.