UPDATE: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said earlier tonight that Rafael Furcal’s broken thumb won’t require surgery, but that he’ll still be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
8:48 AM: The Dodgers shut the Giants down yesterday, but now it looks like their shortstop is going to be shut down too: Rafael Furcal broke his left thumb sliding into third base in the fifth inning. He stayed in the game until he was pinch-hit for in the seventh, but he said that he knew it was broke as soon as it happened.
Frucal has had a number of injuries in recent years, including a recently-aching wrist, back problems, and hamstring problems. This one is going to put him on the shelf for six weeks.
Furcal hadn’t started hitting yet — he was five for his first 26 to kick off the season — but this is a pretty big loss for the Dodgers. Last year he hit .300/.366/.460 in 96 games. Jamey Carroll, who has started the season off with a hot bat, will take his place. Carroll is no spring chicken — he’s my age for cryin’ out loud — so the Dodgers may soon make a move for some infield depth. In the short term, however, they’ll probably call up Ivan De Jesus, Jr. from Albuquerque.
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.