According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed a short while ago that Brandon Belt could be sent back to the minors if Cody Ross is activated from the disabled list tomorrow.
Ross is scheduled to play nine innings in a minor league rehab game with Triple-A Fresno tonight, so if all goes well, he’ll likely join the team in Colorado. Darren Ford is another candidate to be sent to the minor leagues, but Bochy dropped some pretty big hints that the young first baseman will be packing his bags.
“If it’s time to make that move, it wouldn’t be the worst thing,” Bochy said. “The kid is ahead of schedule. He only had one year in the minor-leagues without frankly having much success at the highest level. We’ve thrown a lot at him. But we haven’t made the decision yet.”
Belt, 22, is batting just .200/.310/.280 over his first 58 major league plate appearances and hasn’t driven in a run since April 3. It was quite an accomplishment for him to make the team out of spring training, but he’d be better served to get his confidence back at the Triple-A level. Meanwhile, Aubrey Huff can return to his best defensive position at first base while Ross can play right field or be another option in center until Andres Torres returns.
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.