Alex Cobb set to return from head injury Thursday

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Tampa Bay has lost six games in a row, but there is some very good news for the Rays: Alex Cobb, who’s been out since being hit on the head by a line drive on June 15, is scheduled to come off the disabled list and start tomorrow night against the Mariners.

Rays manager Joe Maddon told Sam Strong of MLB.com that Cobb will likely be limited to around 90 pitches after his recovery was delayed by a blister on his right index finger.

Cobb made a total of three rehab starts in the minors, the last of which involved allowing three runs in 4.1 innings against high Single-A hitters. Before the head injury he had a 3.01 ERA and 76/23 K/BB ratio in 84 innings for the Rays, emerging as one of the league’s best young pitchers.

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.