SPORTSbyBROOKS has been told by multiple sources that MLB has reached out to AEG to inquire about the feasibility of building a new ballpark in downtown Los Angeles for the Dodgers.
AEG is the owner of the Staples Center, home of the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, in downtown L.A. and has already proposed to the city a plan to build an NFL stadium in the same area. MLB is looking to get involved as a way of getting Frank McCourt out of Dodgers business for good.
McCourt, who has taken the Dodgers into bankruptcy proceedings, not only owns the team, but he also owns the land occupied by Dodger Stadium. Some have suggested that even if MLB succeeds in wrenching the franchise away from him, it could create a situation in which the new owner is forced to pay McCourt rent.
Talks between MLB and AEG remain in the formative stage, but I’ve been told that if such a plan were carried out, AEG would not have a controlling ownership interest in the Dodgers.
Dodger Stadium has been the home to the Dodgers since 1962, making it baseball’s third oldest ballpark behind Fenway and Wrigley. In 2008, McCourt and the Dodgers announced a $500 million project to restore the area around the stadium and the creation of a new museum, with the idea the renovations would be completed for the 50th anniversary in 2012. However, those plans almost entirely fell apart.
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.