Josh Beckett injures back taking batting practice

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Yesterday afternoon the Red Sox announced that they were pushing Josh Beckett’s next start back from Wednesday versus the Blue Jays to Friday versus the Tigers, which also put him in line to miss the Yankees next week after giving up nine runs against them in his last outing.
At the time the move was not made because of an injury, but then just a few hours later Beckett strained his back while preparing for interleague play by taking batting practice in an indoor batting cage. He’ll undergo tests today to determine his status and in the meantime Tim Wakefield will slide back into the rotation Wednesday.
Beckett’s pushed-back start is now up in the air, although some extra time off may not be so bad given his 7.46 ERA and need to “refine his delivery” with pitching coach John Farrell. His peripheral numbers aren’t nearly as awful as his ERA, so assuming the back issues aren’t serious he’s a good bet to get on track.

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