Cody Ross plays hero as Red Sox top White Sox

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Cody Ross badly wanted a multiyear deal as a free agent over the winter. The Red Sox probably wish they had given one.

Ross’s 16th homer of the season was a three-run shot off White Sox closer Addison Reed in the bottom of the ninth Thursday, giving the Red Sox all of their runs in a 3-1 win.

It was Ross’s third three-run homer in two days. He’s scored 44 runs and driven in 50 despite being limited to 63 games this season. Last year, he had 14 homers, 54 runs scored and 52 RBI in 121 games for the Giants.

As true to his usual norms, most of Ross’s production has come against lefties, as he’s hit them at an outstanding .328/.410/.836 clip with nine homers this season. However, he’s been plenty solid while getting more time against righties that originally expected, with Wednesday’s homer giving him seven in 153 at-bats and raising his average to .248.

Ross has also become a fan favorite at Fenway, with 11 of his homers coming at home. He seems to like Boston as much as it likes him, so one wonders if the Red Sox will try sign him to an extension before the end of the season. He’s making a modest $3 million this year, down from $6.3 million in his final year with the Giants. If he’s willing to do a two-year, $12 million deal, the Red Sox could forget the luxury-tax ramifications and go ahead and lock him up.

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.