Quick hits: Hamilton addresses pictures

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– Josh Hamilton admitted taking part in some provocative pictures, first unearthed by Deadspin on Saturday:

“I
went to get something to eat. Obviously, I eat at restaurants that have
bars in them all the time. I wasn’t mentally fit to go in there,
spiritually fit, and it just crossed my mind, ‘Can I have a drink?’
Obviously, I can’t.”

While Hamilton admits to being drunk
in the photos, he did not fail a drug test, so he is not in violation
of the policy that allowed him to return to Major League Baseball.

– It appears that the White Sox are the most likely team
who put in a claim on Alex Rios. White Sox or not, the Blue Jays now
have until Tuesday to decide if they will let Rios go for nothing, work
out a trade or pull him back. Rios, who still has six years left on his
seven-year, $69.35 million contract, is batting .263/.316/.428 with 14
homers and 62 RBI (this includes his two-run homer against the Orioles
on Saturday).

– Speaking of waivers, Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus did a fine job of explaining the process for the layman.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.