Tony La Russa has big plans for his time in Tigers camp

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Tony La Russa is in Tigers camp, spending his first spring training as a retiree by hanging out with his buddy Jim Leyland.

He’s doing so in a non-official capacity, but as Tom Gage of the Detroit News notes La Russa still has some pretty big plans:

Tony LaRussa in Tigers camp. Said his two goals are to get Leyland “to eat tofu and stop smoking.”

To which Leyland replied:

Leyland about LaRussa’s tofu and smoking jab: “I didn’t start smoking until I coached for him.”

I’m among the people excited about Showtime choosing the Ozzie Guillen-led Marlins as their subject for this season’s “The Franchise” series, but everyone else is missing an opportunity for documentary gold by not following La Russa and Leyland around 24-7.

Imagine all the shots of La Russa poking his head into a room and saying, “Jimmy, are you smoking in here?!” as Leyland frantically puts out his three simultaneously-lit cigarettes and tries to wave the smoke away. And then imagine the two of them sitting down for a lovely tofu dinner at which Leyland requests a table in the smoking section, gets a dirty look from La Russa, and uneasily laughs while saying, “Hey, just kidding, right?”

Jimmy Nelson to undergo back surgery

Jimmy Nelson back surgery
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Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times reports that Dodgers pitcher Jimmy Nelson will undergo lumbar surgery on his lower back on Tuesday.

Nelson, 31, signed with the Dodgers on an incentive-laden one-year, $1.25 million contract with a vesting 2021 option back in January. With incentives, Nelson could have pushed his 2021 option from $2 million to $9 million. The Dodgers can instead buy him out of his contract for $500,000.

At the beginning of spring training in February, Nelson was battling groin and lower back issues and ultimately exited a late-February bullpen session due to back issues, ending his chance to win a spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Nelson missed the entire 2018 season due to a shoulder injury and briefly pitched for the Brewers last season. Across 22 innings, the right-hander allowed 17 earned runs on 25 hits and 17 walks with 26 strikeouts.

David Price recently opted out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the Dodgers’ rotation appears to include Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, Alex Wood, and one of Ross Stripling, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin.