UPDATE: Word now is that this is not a disciplinary matter. Rather, Nunez is returning to the Dominican Republic to attend to a personal matter of some kind. Either way, it seems his season is over. Here’s hoping the personal matter isn’t too ugly.
2: 59 PM: There are no details yet, but the Marlins have placed pitcher Leo Nunez on the restricted list. He has left the team and has returned to the Dominican Republic, so he’s clearly done for the year.
No word on what happened to cause this, but it’s just the latest round of disciplinary action by the Marlins. As you’ll recall, they demoted Logan Morrison for not playing nice with season ticket holders and — probably — for being outspoken. Mike Cameron was released after an alleged incident on a team flight. Now Nunez.
Not saying the manager is to blame here, but remember when part of the argument in favor of Jack McKeon’s hiring was that he’d run a tight ship and wouldn’t but up with baloney or whatever? I suppose this stuff cuts one of two ways. Either (a) Marlins players have been kind of out of control for a while and we’re hearing about it now because they’re cracking down; or (b) the ship ain’t terribly tight these days.
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
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
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.