Pablo Sandoval not in tonight’s lineup due to lingering shoulder injury

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UPDATE: According to Baggarly, Giants manager Bruce Bochy just said that Sandoval could require surgery on his left shoulder following the season.

8:01 PM: The Giants have won eight straight games to move to within 3 1/2 games of the Braves in the Wild Card race, but they’ll be without their hottest hitter tonight.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Pablo Sandoval will sit tonight against the Dodgers because he’s not able to swing right-handed. He is apparently still feeling the effects of a strained left shoulder suffered last month.

That means the Giants trot this out against Cy Young hopeful Clayton Kershaw tonight:

CF Torres
2B Keppinger
RF Beltran
3B DeRosa
1B Pill
SS Cabrera
LF Christian
C Stewart
P Lincecum

Good luck with that, Tim Lincecum.

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.