Dustin Pedroia's rehab assignment is underway

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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia began a minor league rehab assignment on Saturday at Triple-A Pawtucket and finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, according to the Boston Globe’s Dan Hickling.  Not a bad start.

“It felt good,” he said. “It’s been a while since I played. Later in
the game I was a little tired, but overall, I felt fine. It’s the most
I’ve done since I got hurt, so I’m pretty excited about it.”

Pedroia has been sidelined since June 25 with a broken bone in his foot, but he’s managed to stay active and is well ahead of the recovery timetable that doctors laid out at the time of the original diagnosis.  If all goes well this weekend, he could return to Boston’s starting lineup as early as Tuesday.

The scrappy second baseman was batting .292/.370/.502 with 12 home runs, eight stolen bases and 41 RBI in 295 at-bats, and he should pick up right where he left off.

The Red Sox are six games back of the Yankees in the American League East and probably won’t catch the Bombers.  But they face only a four-game deficit in the hunt for the Wild Card and may be able to surpass the Rays with a strong August and September.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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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 West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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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 West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics