Report: Torii Hunter and Albert Pujols nearly came to blows last summer

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It seems that any Angels-related news that doesn’t involve Mike Trout is bad news, these days. We learned earlier that general manager Jerry DiPoto and manager Mike Scioscia will not be able to coexist in the Angels organization after the season. Now, via Scott Miller of CBS Sports, it appears that outfielder Torii Hunter had to be restrained from fighting with first baseman Albert Pujols last August.

Pujols called out [Jered] Weaver for showing up a teammate the night before. Then he turned his attention on Hunter, blaming him for the dugout altercation with [C. J.] Wilson.

What Pujols did not know at the time was that Wilson and Hunter already had made amends, with the pitcher apologizing to the outfielder for overstepping his bounds in the dugout immediately following the game.

“Albert, you’d better get your facts straight,” a seething Hunter told Pujols.

Pujols said something back, and Hunter jumped him for being a bad teammate and pouting all season whenever he failed to get hits in a game, even in games the Angels won … and now he was going to call others out?

“Shut up, Torii,” Pujols snapped.

It was then that Hunter, from across the clubhouse, lost it and charged Pujols. [LaTroy] Hawkins and outfielder Vernon Wells had to restrain him.

The meeting proceeded from there, and when it was over, tempers still heated, Hunter had to be physically held back a second time from going after Pujols, who is described as wanting no part of the fight.

Miller mentions that Hunter had previously been involved in another clubhouse argument with Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. The outfielder punched Morneau in the jaw, but the two ended up settling their differences and accepting each other as teammates.

(Note: For what it’s worth, a Minnesota writer’s account of the event slightly differs from Miller’s, saying that Hunter threw a punch at Morneau but missed and hit Nick Punto instead.)

Last season, Pujols was in the first year of a ten-year, $240 million contract. He finished with the worst single-season offensive numbers of his career to that point, and he has continued to trend in the wrong direction in 2013 while the Angels have been sitting in fourth place in the AL West for most of the season. Hunter, meanwhile, signed a two-year, $26 million contract with the Tigers in the off-season. His team is holding onto a five-game lead in the AL Central.

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.