Five scouts in town to watch Carlos Beltran; Giants the favorites?

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According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, the Braves, Giants, Phillies, Rangers and Red Sox have all had scouts watching Carlos Beltran this weekend as the Mets take on the Marlins.

They should be liking what they’re seeing.  Beltran just drove in a run for the third straight game with a first-inning sac fly versus the Marlins.  He also walked once Friday and three times Saturday.  He entered Sunday’s game hitting .291/.393/.520 in 344 at-bats.

While the Giants and Phillies have been labeled as the favorites for Beltran by Jon Heyman, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan says the Rangers are “coming hard.”

Passan, though, labels the Giants the front-runners and says outfielder Francisco Peguero could be part of a deal.  The Giants are likely trying to get Beltran without losing either their No. 1 position prospect, Gary Brown, or their No. 1 pitching prospect, Zack Wheeler.

Peguero a toolsy 23-year-old center fielder, has hit .269/.283/.417 with three homers in 108 at-bats for Double-A Richmond this season.  Last year, he hit .322 with 10 homers, 16 triples and 40 steals for Single-A San Jose, but it came with an 88/18 K/BB ratio in 510 at-bats.

2:20 p.m. EDT update: Heyman hears that the Phillies have said no to including either outfielder Domonic Brown or top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart in a deal for Beltran.  They have other quality pieces, such as first baseman Jonathan Singleton, RHP Brody Colvin and RHP Trevor May, but the Mets may be able to do better.

Clayton Kershaw’s initial prognosis: 4-6 weeks on the disabled list

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Some seriously bad news for the Dodgers: Ken Rosenthal reports that the initial prognosis on Clayton Kershaw is that he will miss 4-6 weeks with his bad back. A final determination will be made after he gets a second medical consultation.

Kershaw exited Sunday’s start against the Braves with back tightness after just two innings of work. He was seen talking with trainers in the dugout after completing the top of the second inning and did not return to the mound for the third. Kershaw has a history of back problems. Last year he missed over two months with a herniated disc in his back.

Assuming the preliminary schedule holds, Kershaw would be on the shelf until late August at the earliest, but more likely early-to-mid September. The Dodgers currently hold a 10.5 game lead in the NL West so they can withstand his absence. But if they have any hopes of advancing in the playoffs, they’ll need a fully armed and operational Clayton Kershaw to do it.

David Price was a complete jackass to Dennis Eckersley

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In late June, Red Sox pitcher David Price confronted Hall of Famer and NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley during a team flight to Toronto. The circumstances of the argument were not clear at the time and at least one report said that it was a “back and forth,” presumably about some critical comments Eckersley made on the air about Price. We learned a few days after that it was less of a “back and forth” than it was Price merely berating Eckersley.

Now, via this story from Dan Shaugnessy of the Boston Globe, we get the true flavor of the exchange. It does not reflect well on Price or his teammates:

On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!’’

When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

Many players applauded.

Eckersley made his way to the back of the plane as players in the middle of the plane started their card games. In the middle of the short flight, Eckersley got up and walked toward the front where Sox boss Dave Dombrowski was seated. When Eckersley passed through the card-playing section in the middle, Price went at him again, shouting, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

Assuming this account is accurate, Price’s behavior was nothing short of disgraceful. Disgraceful in that Price was too much of a coward to take his issues up with Ecklersley one-on-one. Beyond that, it’s classic bully behavior, with Price waiting until he was surrounded by lackeys to hurl insults in a situation where Eckersley had no opportunity to effectively respond.

But it’s mostly just sad. Sad that David Price is so painfully sensitive that he cannot handle criticism from a man who is, without question, one of the best who has ever played the game. One of the few men who has been in his shoes and stood on that same mound and faced the same sorts of challenges Price has attempted to face. And, it should be noted, faced them with more success in his career than Price has so far.

No one likes criticism, but David Price is at a place in his life where he is, inevitably, going to receive it. And unlike virtually every other person who may offer it to him, Dennis Eckersley knows, quite personally, of what he speaks.

Shame on David Price for acting like a child. Shame on his teammates for backing him up. Shame on John Farrell and the rest of the Red Sox organization for not sitting Price down, explaining that he messed up and encouraging him to apologize. And, of course, if he apologizes now, it’s not because he means it. He’s had a month to reflect. It’s simply because his disgraceful behavior is now all over the pages of the Boston Globe.

What a pathetic display.