UPDATE: Torii Hunter handed four-game suspension

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UPDATE: According to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times, Hunter originally intended to appeal the suspension, however he changed his mind after conferring with his agent, Angels manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Tony Reagins.

“The more you think about it, the more you watch it, that’s not me and I really let that guy push my buttons, and I
shouldn’t have let it come to that. I apologize to the fans and to the
kids out there and to my kids.”

“I was terrible yesterday. I threw balls on the field, I said some
things I wish I wouldn’t have said and you have to pay the price for it.
That’s what I’m going to do.”

7:04 PM: Torii Hunter was handed a four-game suspension for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa during Friday night’s game against the Tigers, tweets Victor Rojas.

Hunter, who will not appeal, will begin serving the suspension tonight.

Hunter was visibly unhappy with a high strike call during an at-bat in the eighth inning of last night’s game. After eventually striking out looking on a pitch in the lower part of the zone, Hunter lost his cool and looked to have bumped Kulpa with his helmet. Hunter was then separated from Kulpa by Mike Scioscia, who was also ejected from the game. Before leaving the dugout, Hunter launched a bucket of baseballs onto the field. He later told reporters that Kulpa was “being a drama queen” about the whole thing.

I’m waiting for a bunch of columnists to question Hunter’s leadership here, but let’s be honest, the Angels are out of this thing already. 

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