Aramis Ramirez’s drive to the wall in left in the eighth inning of an ugly loss to the Nationals today didn’t do much for the Brewers, but it did make him the first player since 2009 to reach 50 doubles in a season.
Ramirez, who was robbed of another potential double on a nice catch from Bryce Harper in the first inning today, became the 86th player since 1901 to achieve a 50-double season. The Orioles’ Brian Roberts and the Royals’ Billy Butler were the last to do it, with both getting to the plateau in 2009.
Kansas City’s Alex Gordon, currently at 49 doubles, also figures to reach 50 this season. Albert Pujols, with 46, has an outside shot.
Ramirez became the second Brewers player to reach 50. Lyle Overbay had 53 doubles for the club in 2004.
Ramirez’s previous career high for doubles was 44 from 2008. Quietly having a superb season batting behind Ryan Braun in Milwaukee, he’s batting .298/.360/.536 with 25 homers and 98 RBI in 543 at-bats.
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.