Brett Myers said a few weeks ago that he was open to marketing himself as a starter or reliever in free agency, but his agent, Craig Landis, told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the veteran right-hander is now focused on being a starting pitcher. Makes sense in a world where Jeremy Guthrie gets three years and $25 million. Landis also confirmed that the Twins are among the teams who have expressed early interest.
“They’re interested, or perhaps even very interested,” Landis said. “And that’s about as far as we are right now.”
Twins general manager Terry Ryan would only go as far to say that he has “touched base with most of the pitchers on the market,” but Christensen was told by team insiders that Myers will be one of their primary targets because he could be reasonably-priced and would likely embrace making half of his starts in the spacious Target Field.
Myers pitched exclusively out of the bullpen this past season, posting a 3.31 ERA and 41/15 K/BB ratio over 65 1/3 innings between the Astros and White Sox. The 32-year-old has an underwhelming 4.27 ERA as a starter during his career and showed diminished velocity as a member of the Astros’ rotation back in 2011, but he could have some appeal as an innings-eater.
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.