Two minor leaguers suspended

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Normally these drug suspensions are about the least substantial things we cover. But on “player X avoids arbitration with a one year deal” day, this is big news, my friends:

Oakland Athletics Minor League right-handed pitcher Gary Daley Jr. has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for Methylphenidate.  The suspension of Daley, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A Midland RockHounds, will be effective at the start of next season.

Man, “Methylphenidate: is a big word. Fifteen letters! I bet no one can top that!

Free agent Minor League first baseman Austin Gallagher has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for Methylhexaneamine.  The suspension of Gallagher will be effective immediately upon his signing with another Major League organization.

I stand corrected.

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.