Giants to keep Tim Lincecum in rotation after latest loss

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Many thought Tim Lincecum was one more bad start away from either having his turn skipped or receiving a temporary demotion to the bullpen. Lincecum, though, has escaped that fate after giving up five runs and two homers in a loss to the Mariners on Saturday.

Manager Bruce Bochy said today that Lincecum will make his start Friday against the A’s.

The Giants have lost nine straight games started by Lincecum, who is now 2-8 with a 6.19 ERA for the season. Lincecum’s last win came on April 28 against the Padres. He’s allowed at least four runs in 10 of his 14 starts.

Lincecum showed better velocity last night, which is perhaps one reason the Giants have chosen to hold off on making any changes.

“He’s healthy. He feels good,” Bochy told CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly. “I know the results haven’t been great for Timmy, but you just see too many good signs. Even after the first inning (Saturday), he had bad luck there.

“At this point we think the best thing is to let him fight through this. If we felt different, we’d do it.”

They probably will feel different if Lincecum can’t pitch his way past the light-hitting A’s next weekend.

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.