Great Moments in “if The Boss was alive”

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As we’ve noted several times in the past, the easiest column a New York writer has is the “if The Boss was alive …” column. You lose your press pass, I assume, if you don’t crank out a couple of these a year. Ian O’Connor works to fill his quota today at ESPN New York:

Brian Cashman was on his way home from a four-game, two-stadium, one-city sweep suffered at the hands of the New York Mets when he fielded a question that summoned a bad memory from the not-too-distant past.

What would George Steinbrenner have said to you tonight?

Cashman paused over the phone as he measured the chilling thought. An inquiring mind thought the call had dropped before the general manager of the second-best team in New York this week finally broke the silence.

“I can’t even imagine,” he said.

It’s also possible that Cashman considered the thought far more silly than chilling, what with the fact that Steinbrenner has been dead for three years and hadn’t been actively running the team for several years before that. AND that The Boss that these columnists constantly invoke — the angry, fire-first, ask-questions-later Steinbrenner — more or less ceased to exist in the early 90s when he came back from his suspension. The latter-era Boss would bark a lot, but he also let Gene Michael and Brian Cashman run the teams most of the time.

Asking “What Would The Boss Do” may be a fun game for writers who wished they had the kind of drama now that they had back in the 70s and 80s, but it’s almost completely irrelevant to the state of the New York Yankees in 2013. And explaining the state of the New York Yankees in 2013 is sorta their job.

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.