Edwin Encarnacion could help a contender

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He’s more expendable than ever in Toronto following Brett Lawrie’s arrival, but Edwin Encarnacion, who has been tearing it up for the Jays for more than two months, could be a nice piece for a contender this month.

Encarnacion was the Toronto offense last night, going 2-for-2 with a homer and two walks in a 4-1 loss to the A’s.  He’s hitting .435 in August and .336 since the beginning of July.  In fact, he’s been pretty hot for about 10 weeks now, with a .310 average, nine homers and a 30/20 K/BB ratio in 181 at-bats since June 1.  He’s slugging .541 over that timeframe.

With Jose Bautista back in the outfield, the Jays can have Travis Snider and Eric Thames split time between left field and DH in Encarnacion’s place.  Snider was sent back to the minors last week to make room for Lawrie on the roster.

Encarnacion probably wouldn’t clear waivers because of the streak he’s on, but he could be traded to the first team that claims him.  That might be Cleveland, who would have room for him as a part-time first baseman and DH.  The Angels and Yankees are others that could use his right-handed bat.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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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’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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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.