Giants to activate Cody Ross, could demote Brandon Belt

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The Giants decided to hold off on activating Cody Ross on Tuesday, but they’ll make the move Wednesday and the writing appears to be on the wall for Brandon Belt.

Belt was excluded from the Giants lineup for a second straight day Tuesday, as the team is again using Aubrey Huff at first base. Nate Schierholtz is playing right field, but he’s merely keeping the seat warm for Ross, who has been on the DL Since the start of the season with a calf strain.

Belt drove in three runs in his second major league game back on April 1, but he’s without an RBI the last two weeks and he’s hitting .196/.305/.275 overall. Plus, the Giants have suffered defensively while using Huff in the outfield and Belt at first base.

It’s not a total loss, though. Belt figures to play the outfield pretty regularly in Triple-A, and he’ll be in line for a long look in left field if Pat Burrell goes into one of his patented lengthy slumps.

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.