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Mets, Zack Wheeler avoid arbitration

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The Mets and pitcher Zack Wheeler avoided arbitration on Wednesday, agreeing to an $800,000 salary for the 2017 season.

Wheeler, 26, was entering his first of three years of arbitration eligibility. The right-hander hasn’t pitched since 2014 as he underwent Tommy John surgery in ’15 and then suffered several setbacks in his rehab.

Wheeler owns a solid 3.50 ERA with a 271/125 K/BB ratio across 285 1/3 major league innings. The Mets are counting on him to contribute this coming season, but whether he’ll do so out of the rotation or the bullpen remains to be seen.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.