UPDATE: It turns out it wasn’t all good news for Francisco. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Rubin that the veteran reliever was actually diagnosed with a mild strain of the flexor pronator in his right elbow. Either way, he’s going to rest for 72 hours before attempting to throw again.
6:32 PM: Frank Francisco was nearing a return from the disabled list before he was scratched from a bullpen session Saturday with renewed soreness in his surgically-repaired right elbow, but he received some good news today.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets manager Terry Collins said that doctors did not find any structural damage in Francisco’s elbow. The plan calls for him to rest for a few days before he’ll attempt to resume throwing. Still, the timeline for his return to the Mets’ bullpen remains up in the air, which may or may not be a good thing depending on who you ask.
Francisco posted a career-high 5.53 ERA in 48 appearances last season as the Mets’ closer and had a bone spur removed from his elbow in December. The 33-year-old right-hander is making $6.5 million this season. Bobby Parnell has emerged as the team’s closer during his absence, though he has only received five save chances thus far.
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.