Phil Mickelson joins group hoping to buy Padres

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In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune this morning, golfer Phil Mickelson confirmed that he has joined a group of investors hoping to buy the Padres.

Mickelson, who is from San Diego, has joined forces with four of the grandchildren of former Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley. He said he is willing to put “a lot” of his own money in a potential deal to buy controlling interest from John Moores, who said last month that he is putting the team up for sale.

“I’ve had the opportunity to invest in other sports franchises, and I’ve turned it down in the past,” Mickelson said Monday morning. “This was a unique opportunity with families that had done this before and know how to do it right and want to get involved in the community.”

Mickelson is the second-leading money-winner in PGA Tour history with $66,279,655 in career earnings. It’s hard not to like the guy, but he’s currently pitted against Padres’ icon Tony Gwynn, who publicly endorsed Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull as a potential buyer last week. Mickelson said that he would like to get Gwynn involved if his group ultimately wins out. And really, would you expect him to say anything less?

The Associated Press reports that there are five groups in the mix for the Padres at the moment. No firm word on an expected sale price, but the Dodgers’ recent sale and the Padres’ TV deal should push it well above Moores’ initial $530 million investment from 2009.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

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.