Nick Johnson needs surgery, likely out until July

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Nick Johnson will undergo wrist surgery tomorrow and is expected to be sidelined until at least July.
Johnson has been in and out of the lineup for a couple weeks now and apparently a recent cortisone shot wasn’t effective. Signed to a one-year, $5.5 million contract this offseason to replace Johnny Damon in the Yankees’ lineup Johnson has a .388 on-base percentage, but is hitting just .167 with eight RBIs and 12 runs in 24 games. Damon, meanwhile, is hitting .288/.403/.424 in 38 games for the Tigers.
Rather than turn to a full-time replacement for Johnson the Yankees have been cycling various regulars through the DH spot, giving guys like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Jorge Posada days off defensively. However, now that Johnson is likely out for a couple months (and perhaps much longer, given his history with injuries) it wouldn’t be surprising to see New York start shopping around for a veteran bat. This looks likely to be the fifth time in nine seasons that Johnson will fail to play 100 games.

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.