Santiago Casilla ahead of schedule, could return in 2-3 weeks

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Giants reliever Santiago Casilla is doing well recovering from recent surgery on his right knee which removed a cyst. In fact, according to CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly, the right-hander is doing so well that manager Bruce Bochy estimates a return in two to three weeks. Casilla wasn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break.

Casilla went on the DL with a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings and has been nothing short of dominating since joining the Giants prior to the 2009 season. In 189.1 innings with the Giants, Casilla has a 2.19 ERA. In his absence, however, the Giants haven’t skipped a beat. They still own the National League’s third-best bullpen ERA at 3.07 and have featured six other relievers to cross the 20-inning threshold with an ERA below 2.60: closer Sergio Romo, Jose Mijares, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Chad Gaudin, and Jean Machi.

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.