Sports Illustrated crowns the Astros World Series champs . . . for 2017


File this one away for three years from now:


Eh, it’s possible that it’s conservative. Not that I would pick the Astros to win it at all anytime soon, as picking such things is a sucker’s game. But if a team does put it together after a lot of futility, it often happens more quickly than you’d expect. The Rays came out of basically nowhere to win the 2008 pennant, for example. When things click, they tend to click fast or they don’t click at all.

Jeff Samardzija to undergo MRI on right shoulder

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Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.

This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.