MLB Notes: Red Sox starter David Price likely to start season on DL

MLB Notes: Red Sox starter David Price likely to start season on DL

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price is likely to start the season on the disabled list because of his sore pitching elbow.

Starting the second season of a $217 million, seven-year contract, Price has not yet appeared in an exhibition game.

"I think at this point, yeah, it would be hard to see him ready to go at the start of the season," manager John Farrell said before Tuesday's game against Toronto. "We really won't have any kind of idea until he gets on the mound the first time and right now, I don't know when that's going to be."

Boston had hoped for a formidable rotation headed by Price, Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and Chris Sale, acquired in December from the Chicago White Sox.

Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner with Tampa Bay, was 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA last year. He felt discomfort in his left elbow following a two-inning simulated game on Feb. 28 (see full story).

Astros: Bagwell aiding Gurriel's transition to 1B
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Yuli Gurriel has a special guest instructor this week to help him get more familiar with playing first base: newly elected Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell.

"It's an honor to work with him," Gurriel said. "It's a player that I've watched growing up even as a little kid in Cuba."

A former third baseman, Bagwell himself made the transition across the diamond. He has offered positioning suggestions, footwork tips and recommendations regarding mental approach.

"He's doing well," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said of Gurriel. "He's learning and adapting. We don't talk a lot about defensive timing, but the timing at first base has been a little bit better. He looks a little bit more comfortable."

So far the tutelage covered defensive play. Gurriel expects to have time to ask questions of Bagwell, who hit .297 with 449 homers 1,529 RBIs during 15 major league seasons, all with Houston.

"We haven't talked hitting yet but I plan on asking a few questions here and there," Gurriel said with a smile, speaking through a translator (see full story).

Angels: Shoemaker pitching without fear since surgery
SURPRISE, Arizona -- Matt Shoemaker would have better reason than most to be nervous on the mound, yet he pitched without fear on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Angels right-hander retired the first 11 Kansas City hitters he faced before a double by Lorenzo Cain with two outs in the fourth inning. The Royals won 8-4.

In his final start last season, Sept. 4 in Seattle, a 105 mph line drive by Kyle Seager struck Shoemaker just above the right ear.

He was able to walk off the field, but he required emergency surgery after tests revealed a skull fracture and bleeding in his brain.

Shoemaker said he has felt "pretty normal" when balls are hit up the middle in spring training.

"Anytime, whether you've been hit before or not, I feel like when a ball comes back toward you, you flinch," Shoemaker said. "It's just a natural reaction to put your glove up to try to catch it. So definitely I don't think any different than normal" (see full story).

Phillies 7, Blue Jays 1: Vince Velasquez and Tommy Joseph show off their power

Phillies 7, Blue Jays 1: Vince Velasquez and Tommy Joseph show off their power

BOX SCORE

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Phillies showed a little power in their 7-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.

Tommy Joseph provided some of it.

Vince Velasquez provided a lot of it.

Joseph crushed a two-run home run to left field and also lined a double off the center-field wall on his way to a four-hit game. The double came off his bat at 109 miles per hour. The homer was his third of the spring.

Meanwhile, Velasquez showed off his big fastball in striking out seven Blue Jays over five innings of work. Vinny Velo's final pitch of the night was a 97-mph dart past a swinging Jose Bautista.

"That pitch felt really good coming out of my hand," Velasquez said. "Sometimes my fastball slips a little bit and I yank it, but this one I got right behind and threw it right through the catcher."

Velasquez actually struck out the side in that fifth inning against three pretty good hitters in Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson and Bautista.

"That last inning, he really let it go," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Pitch economy remains an area that Velasquez needs to improve on. He threw 87 pitches. But he was pleased with the way he attacked hitters in that final inning of work.

"I didn't attack in one inning," he said. "But in that last inning, I stopped fiddling around and trusted my stuff. I need to do that the whole time."

Velasquez gave up just one run, a homer to Martin. He allowed five hits and walked two.

Velasquez had a busy night. He drove home a run with a ground out against Aaron Sanchez. He also walked against Sanchez and scored a run on a dash home from third base after Freddy Galvis got hung up between first and second. Galvis waved Velasquez home. After crossing home plate, Velasquez, rather humorously, almost ran into the netted backstop.

"I just had momentum. I got excited," he said. "As soon as I saw Tulo (shortstop Troy Tulowitzki) make eye contact with Freddy, I booked it. He's going to think, 'Pitchers can't run,' so I showed off my athleticism."

After the outing, Velasquez pronounced himself ready for the regular season.

"I'm good to go," he said.

He made five Grapefruit League starts and gave up eight runs in 19 2/3 innings. He walked nine and struck out 25.

"It's been a strong, healthy, successful spring training," he said.

Velasquez will likely start the home opener on April 7. He will need to get some work in this weekend. The Phillies leave Florida on Friday. He could stay behind for a day and pitch at the minor-league complex if needed.

Offense clicks
The Phillies had 12 hits. They had 15 in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Up next
The Phillies play the Blue Jays again on Tuesday night. That game will be in Clearwater. Aaron Nola will start against Marco Estrada.

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The pathway for Andrew Knapp to make the Phillies' opening day roster as the backup catcher was cleared way back in November when he was added to the 40-man roster.

The job all but became Knapp's on Monday when the team released two veteran catchers who were not on the 40-man roster. When Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday were let go, Knapp became one of just two catchers in camp, the other being starter Cameron Rupp (see story).

So it's pretty obvious that the 25-year-old Knapp will open the season with the big club -- even though nothing will become official until rosters are filed with the commissioner's office this weekend.

"Obviously there are four or five days left," Knapp said. "I'm just going to keep trying to make good impressions and try to win a job. I'm keeping my head down, trying not to think about it too much."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round draft pick of Cal-Berkeley in 2013. He has never played in the majors.

"It would be a dream come true," he said. "Everyone hopes to get called up at some point but to make a team on opening day would be pretty special and it would be the best moment in my career so far."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged that Knapp would probably make the club.

Mackanin would like to have the rest of his roster in order over the next day or two.

"As soon as possible," he said. "Because the last four or five games I'd like to play almost as if it were a season -- using the bullpen that way, using the bench in a certain way, seeing what it looks like, our bench guys, all our hitters. We just don't want to make a bad decision so we're just going to string it out as long as we can."

Roster questions must still be answered on the bench and in the bullpen.

How does the bench shape up? Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp are set. The Phils are expected to go with a five-man bench so that leaves two openings. There are four players vying for those spots: Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava, Brock Stassi and Jesmuel Valentin. Valentin has impressed, but at 22 years old, he would benefit from playing every day at Triple A.

Mackanin praised Stassi's work on Monday. If Stassi makes the club, the final spot would come down to Coghlan and Nava.

"Stassi has obviously made a great impression, mainly because, not necessarily because of his results, but the fact that he had a lot of quality at-bats," Mackanin said. "It looks like he can handle making adjustments to the different pitchers and different situations. He seemed to handle left-handers well. He made a good impression, as has Coughlan. Nava has also been consistent throughout the spring."

Stassi, Coghlan and Nava are all non-roster players so the Phils would have to clear 40-man roster space to add any of them.

Two spots remain open in the bullpen. Adam Morgan, Joely Rodriguez, Luis Garcia, Alec Asher and Cesar Ramos are the candidates. All but Ramos is on the 40-man roster.

How will this all shake out?

More answers are probably coming Tuesday.