A bunch of players were claimed off waivers today

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Today we saw an unusual amount of players claimed off waivers. They can probably best be described as 40-man roster stocking stuffers. Here’s a quick look at the busy day of transactions:

The Blue Jays claimed third baseman Brent Morel off waivers from the White Sox

Morel hit 10 homers in 126 games with the White Sox in 2011, but he has only appeared in 47 games at the major league level since. The 26-year-old hit .266/.349/.403 with six home runs and 54 RBI over 106 games with Triple-A Charlotte this past year.

The White Sox claimed left-hander Eric Surkamp off waivers from the Giants

Surkamp was hit hard in his lone start with the Giants this season, but he had a 2.80 ERA and 71/23 K/BB ratio in 86 2/3 innings over 16 starts between High-A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno. This was his first year back from Tommy John surgery. He’s not a hard-thrower, usually sitting in the 85-89 mph range, but has averaged 10.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the minors.

The Rays claimed first baseman Jerry Sands off waivers from the Pirates

Acquired from the Red Sox last winter in the Joel Hanrahan deal, Sands really struggled at the Triple-A level this year, hitting just .207/.311/.329 with seven home runs and 34 RBI over 106 games. A right-handed batter, the 26-year-old struck out in 24 percent of his plate appearances with the Dodgers from 2011-2012.

The Orioles claimed right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Cubs

Hendriks was just claimed off waivers from the Twins last week, but he’s on the move again. The 24-year-old Aussie has enjoyed great success in the minors thanks to his pinpoint control, but he owns an ugly 6.06 ERA over 28 starts and two relief appearances at the major league level.

The Cubs claimed right-hander Brett Marshall off waivers from the Yankees

Marshall posted a 5.13 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 120/68 K/BB ratio in 25 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2013 and didn’t make much of an impression in two brief stints with the big club. Still, he doesn’t turn 24 until March and isn’t too far removed from being one of the Yankees’ better pitching prospects.

The Mets claimed right-hander Ryan Reid off waivers from the Pirates

Reid allowed two earned runs in 11 innings during his first taste of the big leagues this past season and owns a 3.87 ERA and 9.0 K/9 over parts of eight seasons in the minors, almost exclusively as a reliever. He turns 29 in April.

The Rangers claimed outfielder Alex Castellanos off waivers from the Red Sox

Castellanos was acquired from the Dodgers in October in exchange for outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, but he was designated for assignment earlier this month to clear a spot for Mike Napoli on the 40-man roster. While the 27-year-old owns an impressive .288/.362/.502 batting line with 85 homers and 109 stolen bases over 615 minor league games, he has only appeared in 24 games at the major league level.

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.