UPDATE: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that an MRI on Pearce’s abdominal showed no tears. He’s considered day-to-day.
10:36 a.m. ET: Steve Pearce was forced to exit last night’s game against the Twins with a right abdominal strain and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that he was scheduled to undergo an MRI this morning.
Pearce initially felt the discomfort Thursday and it lingered into his first at-bat last night. While he’s confident that it’s nothing serious, he didn’t want make things worse and put himself at risk for missing the rest of the season.
“I’m not all that concerned,” Pearce said after the game. “It’s not affecting me during anything else. I’m not in pain doing [anything], even when I swing. I just feel something there, and so I just want to get ahead of it. Hopefully, I can get back and get back pretty soon.”
The injury comes at an unfortunate time for Pearce, who has been the Orioles’ most productive hitter recently. After hitting a bit of a rough patch, he’s hitting .326 (15-for-46) with five home runs and five doubles over his last 12 games. The 31-year-old owns a surprising .289/.354/.532 batting line with 16 home runs and 37 RBI over 85 games this season.
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.