2014 Previews: National League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2014 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League Central.

The Cardinals won the pennant, but they got even better. The Reds and Pirates stood mostly pat. The Brewers have Ryan Braun back, but will that get them anything more than boos? And are the Cubs anywhere closer to contention now?

Below are our team-by-team previews for the NL Central as well as our HBT Extra feature on the division:

St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs

Mets place Tim Tebow on 7-day disabled list

Eastern AA All Star Baseball
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Tim Tebow was placed on the 7-day disabled list with a right hand injury, the Mets’ Double-A affiliate announced Saturday. The outfielder was forced to make an early exit from Thursday’s minor league game and underwent some preliminary tests on Friday, but he’s still expected to consult with a hand specialist next week to determine the extent of the injury and give the Mets some indication of how long his recovery might take.

Tebow, 30, was promoted to Double-A Binghamton at the start of the 2018 season and has slashed .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS through 298 plate appearances so far. This is the first serious setback he’s experienced in two seasons of professional baseball, and casts some doubt on his ability to return to the field before the end of the regular season. A promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas (let alone the majors) appears to be all but ruled out at this point.

Tebow’s injury is the latest in a string of unfortunate mishaps for the Mets, who are also dealing with injuries to Yoenis Cespedes (calcification in heels), Noah Syndergaard (fatigue/’dead arm’) and T.J. Rivera (right elbow sprain), among various others at the major league level. Cespedes’ case has raised the most alarm over the last two days, as skipper Mickey Callaway claimed to have no knowledge of the outfielder’s remarks to the press concerning an impending surgery on his heels.