The Cardinals and Marlins had their Grapefruit League game in Jupiter, Florida halted on Saturday by a one-hour, 49-minute rain delay.
During that delay the Fish got a little business done, holding a required MLB Players’ Association meeting in their clubhouse. These 30-minute meetings are held every year with every team, right around this time of the spring. The Cardinals, in fact, had theirs between 8:30-9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.
But new St. Louis skipper Mike Matheny is upset that his players had to sit around in the afternoon while the Marlins shifted their focus elsewhere and even indicated to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch that he thought the rain delay could have been shorter.
“I wasn’t real happy,” Matheny said. “We couldn’t get people to make decisions. We weren’t the home team there, and the home team was inside a meeting with Major League Baseball front office. So we were left to wait. The field does drain well, and it did turn out to be beautiful there at the end. It seemed like a completely different day. But in the meanwhile, I wasn’t happy. We have some pretty valuable players out there and we have some people in the bullpen just sitting still for a long time. None of that is a good situation.
Meetings are supposed to be after the game.”
During Tony La Russa’s tenure, the Cards were known for making a fuss about trivial things (remember the complaint about the ribbon board at Miller Park?). Matheny might have a legitimate reason to be upset with what went on Saturday, but detractors will probably suggest that he’s only carrying on the Wrath of Tony.
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.