Phillies place Roy Oswalt on disabled list, release J.C. Romero

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Roy Oswalt is worried about his back problems forcing him into retirement, so it’s no surprise that the Phillies have placed him on the disabled list before even waiting for the results of the MRI exam scheduled for Monday.

There seems to be a legitimate fear that he’ll never pitch again and if he does come back it certainly won’t be within two weeks, so the DL stint was a no-brainer. Scott Mathieson replaced Oswalt on the roster.

Along with putting Oswalt on the shelf the Phillies also released J.C. Romero, who predictably passed through waivers unclaimed after they designated him for assignment last week. Between his $1.35 million salary and disastrous numbers versus right-handed hitters Romero simply wasn’t worth a waiver claim and will probably have to work his way back to the majors on a minor-league contract. He’s merely a left-handed specialist at this point.

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.