Link-O-Rama: Padres shut down Young

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* Padres right-hander Chris Young has officially been shut down for the season because of a shoulder impingement that dropped his average fastball to 85.8 miles per hour. “We want Chris to take as much time as he needs and get him right in 2010,” general manager Kevin Towers said.
* Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports that Freddy Garcia could be an option for the White Sox when they need a fifth starter next on August 18. “He’s throwing really well,” said manager Ozzie Guillen, who also happens to be one of Garcia’s best friends.
* After going 5-3 with a 3.58 ERA and 66/19 K/BB ratio in 65 innings spread over 10 starts for the Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League, 40-year-old Hideki Irabu has signed with an independent league team in Japan and will make his first start there next week.
* Speaking of independent leagues, 54-year-old former Royals speedster Willie Wilson will suit up for the Kansas City T-Bones of the Northern League next week. His one-day stint with the team is part of a fundraiser for the The Willie Wilson Foundation, which “conducts baseball camps and clinics for all boys and girls age 7-14 and teams with other organizations to provide services for children in need.” He has slightly more chance of making it back to the majors than Irabu.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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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 Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National 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 National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves