Things you may have missed while observing your seven year-old daughter silently putting the pieces together of the highly implausible Easter Bunny story but then — almost certainly — deciding not to tell you that she knows because she’s worried that if she does so there will be no more jelly beans for her:
- Tony La Russa fooled Dusty Baker. Eh, I don’t consider it much of a scam if it can be thwarted by the mark simply turning on a weather report.
- I sort of think this Jeff Wilpon story makes him seem funny and almost likable, but I can’t get past the fact that every picture I’ve ever seen of Wilpon makes him look like the smarmy secondary bad guy from some 80s movie. I’m thinking Paul Reiser in “Aliens.“
- Felipe Lopez is wearing out his welcome someplace? Why, I never.
- Neftali Feliz has shoulder inflammation and is on the DL. I was going to hold off judgment on this because it’s not like I have any medical knowledge or, really, any specialized knowledge about wear and tear on pitchers. I will note, however, that during last night’s Cards-Reds game, Orel Hershisher and Bobby Valentine both talked about how, pitch counts aside, a less durable arm may be better served as a starter than a reliever because it won’t be used as often in a starting role. This was in connection to Aroldis Chapman, but it makes me wonder if a set routine and less frequent outings may be a better call for Feliz.
- I’ve heard tell of this “Chase Utley,” but I figured he was more myth than man. Now some say we’ll see him come late May.
- Franklin Gutierrez has something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
- Dice-K continues to dominate. Last week I suggested this was a case of kidnapping or mistaken identity. Now I’m convinced that it’s more of a Robert-Johnson-at-the-Crossroads situation.
- Russell Martin is dominating too. With him I’m more inclined to believe that it’s just a matter of health, fitness, friendlier ballparks and a hot streak.
No, I’m not sure what Mookie’s stance is on Santa.
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.