UPDATE: Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that X-rays came back clean and Mejia is dealing with inflammation. No word yet on his status for the Opening Day roster.
9:47 a.m ET: Mets right-hander Jenrry Mejia has made a strong case for a rotation spot this spring, but a comebacker could put him on the outside looking in.
Mejia left last night’s exhibition game against the Blue Jays at Olympic Stadium after he was hit in the right forearm with a ball off the bat of Ryan Goins in the bottom of the fifth inning. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the initial diagnosis is a forearm bruise, but he was sent to a local hospital to undergo X-rays.
Mets manager Terry Collins appeared to be leaning toward starting Mejia in the fourth game of the season next Friday against the Reds, but Daisuke Matsuzaka would get the spot if a trip to the disabled list is necessary. That’s not ideal, as Matsuzaka is viewed as insurance in case Jon Niese isn’t able to make his season debut next Sunday. Niese has been slowed with minor shoulder and elbow issues during spring training.
Mejia allowed one run over four-plus innings before his early exit last night and owns a 2.70 ERA and 13/6 K/BB ratio over 13 1/3 innings this spring.
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.