MLB notebook: Betts, Price arrive in Los Angeles eager for new starts
LOS ANGELES — Mookie Betts and David Price finally turned up in Dodgers jerseys on Wednesday, completing the journey from Boston to Los Angeles, where they’re expected to help end a World Series title drought dating to 1988.
Neither seemed fazed by the trade that dragged out for over a week before it was finalized.
Betts described the waiting game as “fun at times, kind of stressful at times.” Price said being moved from one storied franchise to another was “something special.”
“It wasn’t as easy for us,” joked Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations.
Betts, the 2018 AL MVP, joins current NL MVP Cody Bellinger in the Dodgers’ outfield. Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, joins three-time NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw in the starting rotation.
“Definitely going to be pretty special,” Betts said. “He’s going to put on a show and I’ll do my best to keep up with him.”
Betts was traded for the first time in his career. The 27-year-old right fielder was drafted by the Red Sox in 2011 and made his big-league debut three years later.
“I have a lot of memories in Boston. The most fun is the World Series,” he said, alluding to the 2018 title won by the Red Sox at Dodger Stadium. “That was a great chapter in my life.”
Price said, “I know it’s tough for Red Sox nation to see Mookie leave.”
The players were introduced at Dodger Stadium before catching an evening flight to Arizona, where the team opens spring training Thursday.
RULE CHANGES: Major League Baseball went ahead with its planned rules changes for this season, including the requirement a pitcher must face at least three batters or end the half-inning, unless he is hurt.
The changes were agreed to by MLB and the players’ association last March 8, subject to the study of a joint committee. The three-batter minimum will start in spring training games on March 12.
The active roster limit will increase by one to 26 from Opening Day through Aug. 31, will drop from 40 to 28 through the end of the regular season and return to 26 for the postseason. Each team may have a maximum 13 pitchers through Aug. 31 and during the postseason, and 14 from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season.
YANKEES: Catcher Gary Sanchez and Manager Aaron Boone are not convinced the Houston Astros’ use of electronics did not continue into last year’s AL Championship Series.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred found the Astros broke rules against electronic sign stealing in 2017, including during the postseason, and during the 2018 regular season. The 2019 Astros were not implicated.
Jose Altuve sparked speculation of nefarious conduct when he hit a pennant-winning homer off the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 of the 2019 AL Championship Series, then told teammates not to rip off his jersey as he completed his home-run trot. Some suggested he may have been wearing a buzzer underneath the jersey that could have signaled anticipated pitches.
“It’s a good question. I’ll tell you that if I hit a homer and I get my team to the World Series, they can rip off my pants,” Sanchez said through a translator Thursday as Yankees pitchers and catchers reported for spring training. “They can rip everything off if I get the team to the World Series hitting a walkoff homer like that. They can rip anything off.”
ROYALS: Preparing to return to the major leagues after a one-season absence, Salvador Perez caught a bullpen session from prospect Brady Singer in Kansas City’s first spring training workout.
Perez hurt a ligament in his right elbow during drills in spring training last year, and Los Angeles Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed Tommy John surgery on the six-time All-Star on March 6. Perez is hitting and throwing to bases.
ANGELS: Max Stassi says he wishes he had done “the right thing” when he learned about the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme late in their World Series championship season in 2017.
The former Astros catcher’s new teammates with the Los Angeles Angels also aren’t happy with their AL West rivals as they report to spring training.
Stassi apologized for his minor part in the Astros’ cheating after he was recalled by the club in August 2017. Stassi played in just 14 games that year and didn’t participate in the postseason, yet still won a World Series title as part of their 40-man roster.
“It was wrong,” Stassi said. “I feel terrible. I think looking back, every single person that was a part of that team or in that clubhouse regrets what was going on, and if we could all go back, I’m sure we never even would have thought of the idea.”
Stassi said he was “surprised” to learn the extent of the Astros’ schemes when he joined the club late that season. He also said he was unaware of any sign-stealing by the Astros in subsequent seasons. Stassi was traded to Los Angeles late last season.
BLUE JAYS: Catcher Reese McGuire is facing an indecent exposure charge in Florida.
Deputies were dispatched to a shopping center parking lot in Dunedin on Friday afternoon following reports that a man sitting inside an SUV was exposing himself, according to a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Deputies said they spoke with McGuire, 24, who was cooperative and did not deny the allegations. The release didn’t say what exactly McGuire was doing.
McGuire was charged with a misdemeanor count of exposure of sexual organs and given a notice to appear in court on March 16. He was not taken to jail.
TIGERS: Cameron Maybin is back with the Tigers.
The Tigers and the 32-year-old outfielder agreed on a $1.5 million, one-year contract.
Maybin began his career with Detroit in 2007 before he was traded to the Marlins in the deal that sent Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers. Maybin returned to Detroit in a trade and played for the Tigers in 2016.
Maybin spent last season with the New York Yankees, hitting .285 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 82 games. His deal with the Tigers includes performance bonuses.
BRAVES: Left-hander Cole Hamels won’t be ready for the start of the season after hurting his pitching shoulder during an offseason workout.
• The Braves have agreed to a minor league contract with reliever Josh Tomlin that includes an invitation to the big league camp.
GIANTS: Versatile infielder Wilmer Flores and the San Francisco Giants finalized a $6.25 million, two-year contract as spring training began, giving the club a proven hitter against left-handed pitching.
• The Giants signed veteran right-hander Trevor Cahill to a minor league contract, and Cahill took part in the day’s first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers.
Cahill, 31, is on his eighth team in his 12th major league season. He’s wearing his sixth different uniform in six seasons, following stints with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels.
ARBITRATION: Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez became the first player to win in salary arbitration this year and will earn $4 million rather than the team’s offer of $3.5 million.
A right-hander who turns 32 next month, Baez was 7-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 71 relief appearances last season, striking out 69 in 69 2/3 innings while walking 23.
He had a $2.1 million salary last year and is eligible for free agency after this season.
Teams had won the first four decisions this year, beating Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, Minnesota pitcher Jose Berrios, Atlanta reliever Shane Greene and Colorado catcher Tony Wolters.
Boston pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez argued his case Wednesday, asking for a raise to $8,975,000 rather than the $8.3 million offer of the Red Sox.