Cubs sign Anthony Rizzo to seven-year extension

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The Cubs have agreed to a seven-year, $41 million contract extension with first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The deal runs from 2013-19, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rizzo, 23 years old, has been his club’s most reliable hitter, entering this afternoon’s game against the Nationals with a .288/.361/.554 line, including nine home runs.

Rizzo was a sixth-round pick by the Red Sox in the 2007 draft. He went to the Padres in the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. The Padres sent him to the Cubs to acquire Andrew Cashner.

Rosenthal provides more details on the contract:

The deal also includes two club options and escalators that could extend the deal to 2021 and bring the total value of the package to $73 million, sources said.

Rizzo, who has just over a year of major-league service, is earning $498,000 season. His new deal will include an immediate increase for 2013 while covering all four of his arbitration years – Rizzo was on track for Super Two status – and his first free-agent year.

The deal provides the Cubs cost certainty with an up-and-coming first baseman. Rizzo would not have been arbitration eligible until after the 2015 season and he would not have been eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season, as Charlie Wilmoth of MLB Trade Rumors notes.

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.