Free-falling Giants drop Miguel Tejada and Aaron Rowand

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Yesterday the Giants lost for the 21st time in 31 games, falling six games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West, and today the front office had a mini-house cleaning by designating veterans Miguel Tejada and Aaron Rowand for assignment.

Tejada was signed to a one-year, $6 million contract to take over as the Giants’ starting shortstop despite all kinds of evidence that he couldn’t handle the position defensively at age 37.

He was quickly moved to third base and then the bench, hitting just .239 with four homers and a .596 OPS in 91 games. And the final straw may have been the former MVP’s public complaints about being asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt earlier this week.

Rowand still has another season remaining on a five-year, $60 million contract, so the Giants will be paying him $12 million in 2012 whether he’s still on the roster or not. Rowand got that deal following a career-year in 2007, but has hit just .253 with a .704 OPS in 509 games since then and had started just 16 games since the All-Star break. It’s possible the Giants will be able to find a taker for Rowand if they eat all of that salary.

That the moves come one day before rosters expand from 25 to 40 is awfully telling. Pat Burrell was called up from the minors to fill one of the roster spots along with Triple-A first baseman Brett Pill.

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.