Selig: expanded playoffs coming, but maybe not next year

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When Bud Selig talks to reporters he usually runs thought three or four things and then walks on. He did that last night in Milwaukee. Here are the things:

  • Labor negotiations are moving along just swell. There is no timetable or deadlines for implementing a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires in December, but no one is sweating it. It’s gonna happen.
  • Expanded playoffs are a near-certainty, but Selig is not optimistic that it could be implemented for 2012.  He was asked how to square expanded playoffs with not stretching the season into November, and he said that shouldn’t be a problem, strongly suggesting that the plan will be to do one-game play-ins between the two wild card teams in each league. My guess: everyone is still high from that game 162 crack cocaine from two weeks ago and wants to keep the feeling of scheduled win-or-go-home games alive.
  • Selig met with would-be Astros’ owner Jim Crane last week. The meeting went well he said, but there’s still no word on when or if Crane will be approved as the owner before the November 30th deadline built into Crane’s deal with current owner Drayton McLane.
  • He has no concerns about the Mets or their finances. He also sounded pretty optimistic about how the Dodgers’ litigation is going.
  • While he maintains that he will retire after the 2012 season, Selig left open the possibility that he would travel to the city of Istar during the Age of Might and ensconce himself in the court of the Kingpriest. Thereafter, he would use an artifact called the Bloodstone to retain his immortality and eventually enter The Abyss and seek to challenge Takhisis and become a god.

Hmm. Wait. That last one may have been mis-transcribed. I’d check my notes but I lost ’em. Oh well.

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.