Adam Dunn returns after missing seven games with oblique injury

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According to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com, Adam Dunn is back in the starting lineup this afternoon against the Twins after missing seven straight games with a strained right oblique. He’s playing first base in his return.

Dunn originally tweaked his oblique on a check swing on August 29 and hasn’t played since aggravating the injury on September 5. He took batting practice without incident last night and while he told Hayes that he realizes he won’t be 100 percent, he feels good enough to give it a go.

“It’s to the point now where I get it: it’s not going to feel 100 percent,” Dunn said. “My whole thing was, I don’t want it to be one bad swing and one anything and the season is over. That’s my big concern. When I swung today it felt fine.”

Dunn is batting .208/.340/.485 with 38 home runs, 88 RBI and an .825 OPS this season. With 96 walks and 194 strikeouts, there’s still a very good chance that he’ll become the first player ever to amass 40 homers, 100 walks and 200 strikeouts in a season. Holy three-true-outcomes, Batman.

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