Dexter Fowler has been getting help from Barry Bonds

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that Dexter Fowler has been getting tutelage from former Giants outfielder Barry Bonds. Since back-to-back-to-back two-hit games to start the season, Fowler has slumped, batting just .114 in 47 trips to the plate over 11 games. Only one of his five hits has gone for extra bases.

Drellich writes that Fowler has been receiving instruction from Bonds for roughly a year, including over the off-season, but Bonds and Fowler have been collaborating at the O.co Coliseum while the Astros have battled the Athletics over the weekend.

Fowler says Bonds isn’t only helping with hitting:

“I don’t think it’s just one thing,” Fowler said. “It’s a plethora of things. To point out one thing, it’s mentally, it’s physically, it’s everything.”

Ryan Howard is another notable player to have been coached by Bonds, going all the way back to 2010. It’s tough to deduce if it helped, since Howard was injured for much of 2011 and ’12. The Astros, who have had Fowler lead off for most of the season, hope Bonds can help their center fielder turn his season around.

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.