Jason Kipnis hopeful to return from sore elbow on Friday

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Jason Kipnis is out of the Indians’ lineup tonight for the fifth straight game due to a sore left elbow, but the hope is that his return isn’t far off.

According to Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Kipnis completed a full batting practice session this afternoon at Progressive Field. While he reported some “expected” soreness, he came out of it feeling good and is hopeful to return to the lineup tomorrow night when the Indians begin a three-game series against the Astros in Houston.

“Right now, at this moment, I feel like I’m good enough to play Friday,” Kipnis said after BP, which for him ended about 5:20. “But we’ll see how the elbow reacts to this activity. I won’t know my status for sure until the morning.”

The sore elbow provides some context for Kipnis’ slow start, as he’s hitting just .125 (4-for-32) with three doubles, two RBI and 11 strikeouts in eight games. The 26-year-old batted .257/.335/.379 with 14 home runs, 76 RBI, 31 stolen bases and a .714 OPS in 152 games with the Indians last season.

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.