Jesse Crain still not ready to begin throwing

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Houston took a risk in signing Jesse Crain after he missed the entire second half with shoulder problems, although a one-year, $3.25 million deal is certainly a reasonable risk to take on a potential impact bullpen arm.

His status for Opening Day remains in question, as CSNHouston.com reports that Crain won’t even begin throwing for at least another 10 days. Here’s what Crain said about his health while attending FanFest over the weekend:

We have a plan and a certain schedule for that and so far all the rehab has been going well. We just want to make sure that I’m all the way healthy and strong before we get to that next step because you can always speed it up on the back end.

If healthy Crain will be the Astros’ closer and he obviously hopes to rack up a bunch of saves and hit the open market again next offseason with a lot more interest, but his last game action was June 29.

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.