Meanwhile, in the Northwoods League

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Those wood bat summer leagues college players often join? Kinda cool. They’re so loose they make the low minors look like The Serious Leagues (Brian McCann: commissioner).

This extends to team names too, as the new team the Northwoods League up in Kalamazoo attests: it’s the Growlers. Which, sadly, is not about beer growlers. It’s bear-themed. Still kinda cool, but a missed opportunity there.

But better yet were the names which lost:

Other names considered as part of the contest were the Cabbies, the Clutch, the Kangaroos and the Krakens.

Really wish we could have had “the Krakens.” And the team will play in Homer Stryker Field, which sounds like a action movie name Homer Simpson would use.

Road trip?

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.