Blue Jays demote Brett Cecil to minors after rough spring

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Brett Cecil led the Blue Jays with 15 wins in 2010 and has started 65 games in the majors, but now the 25-year-old left-hander is headed back to the minors following a rough spring training.

Toronto let Cecil pick between going to Triple-A or Double-A and he opted for the lower level because Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas is an extremely hitter-friendly environment.

Cecil also didn’t put up much of a fight, telling John Lott of the National Post:

I really gave them no choice. I really didn’t help myself out any. I’ve had a month to figure it out. Any pitcher should be able to figure it out then. Some take a little bit longer, like I have. I’m not disappointed at anything at this point.

Cecil came into camp in The Best Shape Of His Life, shedding 40 pounds during the offseason, but struggled with his mechanics while allowing 14 runs in 17 innings. He was also a mess down the stretch last season, going 0-7 with a 5.16 ERA in August and September.

Even with that ugly stretch included Cecil has a 4.64 ERA in 390 career innings, is still young, and isn’t even arbitration eligible yet, so he’ll be back in the majors soon enough. In the meantime the Blue Jays will go with Henderson Alvarez, Kyle Drabek, and Joel Carreno in the rotation behind Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow.

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.