Mike Cameron close to rejoining Red Sox

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Mike Cameron has played three games at Triple-A while rehabbing his strained abdominal muscle, going 2-for-8 with a double and three walks.
Terry Francona initially indicated the Red Sox planned to have Cameron spend 4-5 games in the minors before coming off the disabled list, so barring a setback over the weekend he’s very close to returning. Cameron has said he’s eying the series against the Yankees for his return and that begins Monday night in New York.
Darnell McDonald and John Van Every have split time in center field with Cameron (and Jacoby Ellsbury) out, but despite a very strong first impression from McDonald the pair of minor-league veterans have combined to go just 19-for-83 (.229) with 25 strikeouts.
Cameron is on the verge of returning, but Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe reported yesterday that Ellsbury still has “no timetable” for a rehab assignment of his own.

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