Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero close to $32 million contract with Dodgers

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Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero is close to signing a $32 million contract with the Dodgers, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes reported back in mid-July that Guerrero and the Dodgers had agreed to a $32 million contract–which he said was for seven years–but then Guerrero’s agent denied there was a deal in place … to Sanchez.

And now a couple months later it’s nearly a done deal, with Sanchez reporting “an official announcement is expected this week” and the contract is slated to be “between five and seven years.”

Guerrero played a lot of shortstop in Cuba, but he’s expected to be a second baseman in the majors and with 36-year-old Mark Ellis headed for free agency the Dodgers have a clear path for him to take over the job in 2014. He was considered one of Cuba’s top all-around players and the 26-year-old put up some big numbers offensively.

Because of the spending limits put in place with the draft and (most) international prospects dropping huge money on Cuban players is one of the few areas beyond MLB payroll where the Dodgers can really take advantage of their huge revenue edge and they’re smartly doing exactly that.

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.