Rangers acquire Andres Blanco from Cubs

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Here’s a minor transaction, as the Rangers have acquired infielder Andres Blanco from the Cubs for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Blanco, who turns 26 in April, batted .252/.303/.341 with one home run and 12 RBI in 123 at-bats for the Cubs last season. He was out of options and from what I understand, he didn’t figure into the team’s plans this season. With experience at second base and shortstop in the majors, he could hang on as the utility type Texas has been looking for since they voided Khalil Greene’s contract in February.

Probably the most significant thing to come out of this, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com believes that the trade of Blanco could open a spot on the roster for Kevin Millar and Chad Tracy, both of whom are non-roster invitees.

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.