Were you aware that David Eckstein was a short, scrappy winner?

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You would think that after ten seasons of people constantly writing some variation of the “David Eckstein may be small, but he’s a scrappy winner!” story, eventually newspapers would stop running it. You would think that, but you would be wrong. From the L.A. Times:

If David Eckstein  is right, if players like him are an endangered species because computer-generated calculations can’t quantify the value of hustling and the little things he does so well, baseball will be the poorer for it.

If there’s no room for someone like the San Diego Padres’ second baseman, the ultimate little guy with a big heart and a winning influence on every team whose dirt-stained uniform he has worn, the sport will lose a piece of its soul.

I realize that, blogging like I do, I have chained myself to the 10-minute Twitter-fed news cycle and thus many things in baseball about which more casual fans don’t yet know are old hat to me. But I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking that a lede like that in a David Eckstein story slipped into realm of parody a good five years ago. Really, if The Onion were to do a totally dry “Meet David Eckstein” story — with the joke being that we all met him a decade ago — it would start exactly like that.

At this point, rather than sit for the interview, Eckstein should just hand out a pre-printed list of his “I don’t listen to the scouts and the experts, I just go out and play” quotes and save himself a lot of time.

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.