So far, so good for Dustin McGowan's comeback

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Dustin McGowan missed all of last season following shoulder surgery, but manager Cito Gaston reports that he “looked good” during a two-inning simulated game yesterday.
McGowan tossed 44 pitches, after which Gaston noted that “he threw well, free and easy.” He’s now scheduled to appear in a minor-league game Friday and if that goes well Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun reports that McGowan is tentatively slated to make his official spring training debut in a big-league game “around March 24.”
That would leave time for just 2-3 spring appearances and likely wouldn’t be sufficient to make McGowan an option for the Opening Day roster, although Gaston has yet to rule it out. Instead, expect McGowan to begin the season on the disabled list and remain behind in extended spring training before heading out on a minor-league rehab assignment.
Before the injury he was emerging as one of the league’s top young starters, but McGowan hasn’t faced big-league hitters since July of 2008 and even avoiding all setbacks likely wouldn’t get him back into the Blue Jays’ rotation before late April or early May.

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.