In case you were wondering, no the Marlins were not bombed

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Suicide bombers hit three hotels frequented by westerners in Baghdad yesterday. When I read about it, I’ll admit, my first thought wasn’t “Oh God, I hope Chris Coghlan is safe!”  Indeed, I had actually forgot all about the Marlins’ Iraq trip. Still, it’s good to hear this from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:

Just got off the phone with Marlins communications vice president
P.J. Loyello, who said a contingent of Marlins bound for
Iraq landed in Kuwait this morning, not long after suicide bombers
blasted three Baghdad hotels in neighboring Iraq.
   “They’re safe,” said Loyello, who has been in contact with the
traveling party. “They’re not in Iraq at the moment. They have
landed (in Kuwait) and they’re in good hands.”

The trip includes manager Fredi Gonzalez, team president Larry
Beinfest, Coghlan, catcher
John Baker, and four Mermaids cheerleaders.

No worries, Mrs. Beinfest: I’m sure the gender balance of the delegation is a purely political consideration.

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.