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Ray Flowers

Latest from Ray Flowers' MLB Draft Guide

Al Jefferson Headshot

Jefferson (mouth) is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Rockets.

Jefferson has been sidelined for the past three games following a dental procedure last week, which has left his mouth a little sore. It's possible that Jefferson may have made enough improvement to take the court Wednesday, but even if he suits up, he won't be in line for a major role off the Pacers bench. Jefferson hasn't played more than 20 minutes in a game since Dec. 26.
12:49 pm (EST)
J.P. Howell Headshot

Howell believes he will thrive against the competition in the AL East, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports.

Howell, a native of the west coast, said the unique ballpark environments of the hard-hitting division is one reason he chose to join Toronto this offseason. "The AL East is so intense. All season long it's usually a close race, so there's usually no letup," the lefty said. "The crowd plays a huge factor when you're tired or struggling, in all aspects, really. But when you need it, they're there. You can get something out of it and it can break some guys down, too." The 33-year-old veteran will replace the departed Brett Cecil as the team's go-to lefty in 2017, affording Howell a realistic opportunity to notch 15-plus holds during the campaign.
12:48 pm (EST)
Sean Couturier Headshot

Couturier came down with an illness that caused him to leave Wednesday's practice prematurely, Adam Kimelman of reports.

The Flyers will go to work against the Panthers on Thursday, and there's bound to be clarification on the two-way pivot's status ahead of that contest. However, Michael Raffl (lower body) and Travis Konecny (lower body) are also ailing, so a call-up from AHL Lehigh Valley could be forthcoming if Couturier sits out for the first time in 2017.
12:48 pm (EST)
Chris Bassitt Headshot

Bassitt (elbow) is expected to be allowed to throw curveballs in his next bullpen session, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports.

The right-hander began throwing off a mound in mid-February, and it seems like all has gone well as he continues on the long road to recovery from Tommy John surgery. If all goes well with this upcoming session, he could be ramped up to live BP sessions in the near future, although Bassitt's timeline should become clearer as he progresses further in his rehab process.
12:48 pm (EST)
Bronson Arroyo Headshot

Arroyo threw from a mound Wednesday for the first time since leaving camp with the flu, Mark Sheldon of reports.

There's still no timetable for his first game action this spring as he competes for a spot in the Reds' rotation. Nonetheless, it's good to see him back in camp and participating in normal pitching activities.
12:46 pm (EST)
Johnny Oduya Headshot

Oduya will arrive in Chicago on Wednesday, but will not suit up for Wednesday night's showdown with the Penguins.

Considering Oduya has not had a chance to practice with his old/new team yet, there's simply not enough time to figure out a place for him in the current lineup, and so he'll likely watch Wednesday's game from a luxury box. Coach Joel Quenneville said he projects pairing Oduya with Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) once the latter is ready to return from injury.
12:45 pm (EST)
Chris Neil Headshot

Neil (finger) is expected to miss "weeks" due to his broken finger, Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun reports.

In terms of fantasy value, Neil doesn't offer much outside of PIM considering he averages a meager 7:26 of ice time per game and has snagged a paltry three points in 52 outings this season. One of the last remaining enforcers in the league, Neil is significantly more likely to get into a scrap than score a goal.
12:44 pm (EST)
Jason Kipnis Headshot

Kipnis (shoulder) took batting practice in an indoor cage Wednesday, but he's still not cleared to throw, Jordan Bastian of reports.

The Indians are really easing the second baseman into things this spring given his history of shoulder woes, but it seems like he's making some progress in returning to 100 percent. Kipnis is expected to return to on-field batting practice in a few days, although it's unclear when he'll begin to throw again. The situation doesn't seem to have his status for Opening Day in question, so he'll likely be able to rejoin the Tribe in their spring slate relatively soon.
12:41 pm (EST)
Zack Wheeler Headshot

Wheeler (elbow) is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut March 10 against the Braves,'s Anthony DiComo reports.

He threw his first live batting practice of the spring on Wednesday, and now we have a firm date for his return to game action. Wheeler's return from Tommy John surgery has been a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks it is an easy road back, as he was supposed to be ready for game action last June. Health is a big concern, but the emergence of Robert Gsellman as a strong option for the fifth spot in the rotation is another obstacle for Wheeler.
12:35 pm (EST)
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