Tigers’ prospect Andy Oliver has start pushed back after playing with slingshot

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We’ve heard some weird injuries over the years, but this one is up there.

According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Tigers’ prospect left-hander Andy Oliver had his Friday start with Triple-A Toledo pushed back after playing with a slingshot on Thursday. I’m not kidding.

No, he wasn’t grounded or anything, but his hand apparently became sore after he used muscles that he doesn’t normally use.

Here’s the word from Triple-A Toledo manager Phil Nevin.

“I think he realizes the ramifications of missing today’s start,” Nevin said. “But it’s part of growing up and realizing priorities. We’re not angry with him or anything like that. It’s not a huge deal.”

Oliver, 23, has a 3.64 ERA and 31/12 K/BB ratio over his first five starts with the Mud Hens this season. Assuming he doesn’t break Mr. Wilson’s window again, he could eventually be a consideration to replace the struggling Phil Coke in the Tigers’ starting rotation.

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