Juan Uribe now a regular for Giants

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juan uribe.jpgGiants manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday that Juan Uribe will stay in the lineup as an everyday player after Freddy Sanchez returns from shoulder surgery, something that could happen in about two weeks.
Bochy didn’t say Uribe would own second base for himself, but that’s really the only place for him. Moving Pablo Sandoval to first and using Uribe at third is an option, but it certainly wouldn’t make any sense when Huff is off to a .280/.370/.484 start a month into the season. Besides, Sandoval has been plenty solid defensively at the hot corner after shedding some weight over the winter.
Uribe at short over Edgar Renteria is also unlikely to happen with any regularity. Renteria has a 773 OPS that’s comparable to Uribe’s 781 mark this season, and he’s the more capable defender. Uribe has lost a lot of range through the years and can’t be viewed as a regular shortstop these days.
So, it will probably come down to Uribe versus Sanchez most days, and it looks like Bochy prefers the guy who signed for $3.25 million in January to the one who got a two-year, $12 million deal in October. It’s defensible. Uribe came in with an 824 OPS in 398 at-bats last year, while Sanchez finished at 742 in 457 at-bats. Defensively, the two are close to a wash.
It just makes one wonder why the Giants saw the need to re-sign Sanchez. But it’s typical of Brian Sabean to spread the wealth. He could have used the money he spent on Sanchez, Mark DeRosa and Bengie Molina to make a run at Matt Holliday, yet that’s simply not his style.

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.