At least not the opening of it.
The Reds had traditionally played the first game of the season in honor of their status as the oldest major league team. That tradition has broken down in recent years, with prime time games taking over as the real opener and even some other teams having their first pitch go off before the Reds’ on the first day with a slate of afternoon starts. But 2012 totally subordinates the Reds and makes life difficult for the events that usually surround the game.
The Reds don’t start until Friday, a full two days after the Marlins’ opener. More significantly, that’s Good Friday. Which, while not an ideal start for any team (there has been controversy about this before) is particularly tough for the Reds because Opening Day for them is usually accompanied by a big parade, the opening of a downtown market and other festivities. One who cares a lot about Good Friday can probably make room for a baseball game, but a whole day of whoopin’ it up is a bit much, it is feared.
The Reds are said to be petitioning Major League Baseball for a change here. Given that they start the season against the Marlins, however, and that since the Marlins open on Wednesday night against the Cardinals they can’t play a game on Thursday due to weird rules about one-game series, I can’t really see what baseball can do about it.
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.