The Roberto Clemente Award goes to the Major Leaguer who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” Tim Wakefield won it last year. The 2011 nominees — one per team — were just announced. They are as follows:
Arizona Diamondbacks – Joe Saunders
Atlanta Braves – Tim Hudson
Baltimore Orioles – Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox – David Ortiz
Chicago Cubs – Ryan Dempster
Chicago White Sox – Juan Pierre
Cincinnati Reds – Jay Bruce
Cleveland Indians – Justin Masterson
Colorado Rockies – Troy Tulowitzki
Detroit Tigers – Justin Verlander
Florida Marlins – Gaby Sanchez
Houston Astros – Jason Bourgeois
Kansas City Royals – Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Torii Hunter
Los Angeles Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw
Milwaukee Brewers – LaTroy Hawkins
Minnesota Twins – Michael Cuddyer
New York Mets – Mike Pelfrey
New York Yankees – CC Sabathia
Oakland Athletics – Josh Willingham
Philadelphia Phillies – Ryan Howard
Pittsburgh Pirates – Jeff Karstens
St. Louis Cardinals – Albert Pujols
San Diego Padres – Orlando Hudson
San Francisco Giants – Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Mariners – Felix Hernandez
Tampa Bay Rays – James Shields
Texas Rangers – Michael Young
Toronto Blue Jays – Ricky Romero
Washington Nationals – Ian Desmond
While the award itself is cool, the part that confuses me about it all is that there is a fan voting aspect to all of this, with dedicated website for it and everything. I’m not sure how fans can properly gauge a player’s community involvement, and I’m not sure how overall popularity should have any bearing on this award. I suppose Major League Baseball just can’t help itself when it comes to throwing interactivity — and a chance for people to see the ads of a the award’s sponsors — into the mix.
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.