Spring Training previews

Spring Training previews

American League team previews
ASSOCIATED PRESS

A team-by-team look at the American League entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:

AL EAST

Boston Red Sox


Manager: Terry Francona (fifth season).

2007: 96-66, first place, World Series champions.

Training Town: Fort Myers, Fla.

Park: City of Palms Park.

First Workout: Feb. 16/Feb. 22.

He's Here: 1B Sean Casey, RHP Dan Kolb, RHP David Aardsma.

He's Outta Here: 1B-OF Eric Hinske, INF Royce Clayton.

Outlook: The World Series winners two of the last four seasons stood pat and have several key young players who gained experience. They bid for LHP Johan Santana but weren't willing to part with some of those youngsters. Two of them, LHP Jon Lester and CF Jacoby Ellsbury, helped in the title run. Lester pitched 5 2-3 shutout innings in the final game of the four-game Series sweep over Colorado. The fleet Ellsbury surged onto the scene in September and hit .438 in the World Series. 3B Mike Lowell, MVP of the Series, returns with a new three-year contract. Cy Young Award runner-up Josh Beckett and closer Jonathan Papelbon lead a strong pitching staff, but RHP Curt Schilling's shoulder injury is a major concern. Sluggers David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez continue in the third and fourth spots and likely will follow Rookie of the Year Dustin Pedroia in the lineup.


New York Yankees

Manager: Joe Girardi (first season).

2007: 94-68, second place, wild card.

Training Town: Tampa, Fla.

Park: Legends Field.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 20.

He's Here: RHP LaTroy Hawkins, 1B-3B Morgan Ensberg, RHP Jonathan Albaladejo, OF-1B Jason Lane, INF Chris Woodward.

He's Outta Here: Manager Joe Torre, RHP Roger Clemens, RHP Luis Vizcaino, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, INF Andy Phillips, LHP Ron Villone, RHP Tyler Clippard.

Outlook: New York's streak of nine consecutive division titles ended last season, but the Yankees rallied from a slow start to earn their 13th straight playoff berth. They were eliminated in the first round for the third year in a row, however, losing in four games to Cleveland. That was the start of a whirlwind offseason. Torre walked away after 12 years at the helm when the team offered him just a one-year contract with a pay cut. He landed with the Dodgers and was replaced by his former bench coach, Girardi, the 2006 NL Manager of the Year with Florida. Star 3B Alex Rodriguez, coming off his third AL MVP, appeared headed out of town after opting out of his contract. But in a strange saga, he came back to the Yankees and agreed to a $275 million, 10-year contract that surpassed his previous record deal. New York brought back three other key free agents in C Jorge Posada, LHP Andy Pettitte and closer Mariano Rivera, and exercised RF Bobby Abreu's $16 million option. The Yankees made a brief bid for Johan Santana, then pulled out of talks because they didn't want to part with young pitching. Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy could all end up in the rotation. All eyes will be on Chamberlain this spring after he was so dominant as a rookie setup man down the stretch last season. The Yankees plan to use him as a starter, the role he was accustomed to in the minors and college. But the bullpen bridge to Rivera still looks shaky and it might be tempting to put Chamberlain back in a relief role at some point. Health is a big concern for Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, who is coming off knee surgery. They could share time at LF and DH. The Yankees hope Jason Giambi can play some first base, too. Otherwise, they'll have a logjam at DH with three aging left-handed hitters. Ensberg and Lane will compete with Wilson Betemit and Shelley Duncan this spring for playing time at first base. This is the team's final year at storied Yankee Stadium before moving into a new ballpark across the street in 2009.


Toronto Blue Jays

Manager: John Gibbons (fifth season).

2007: 83-79, third place.

Training Town: Dunedin, Fla.

Park: Knology Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 16/Feb. 21.

He's Here: 3B Scott Rolen, SS David Eckstein, INF Marco Scutaro, OF Buck Coats, RHP Randy Wells, RHP Shawn Camp, RHP Lance Carter, LHP John Parrish.

He's Outta Here: 3B Troy Glaus, RHP Josh Towers, RHP Ty Taubenheim, INF Ray Olmedo.

Outlook: Injuries to key players hurt the Blue Jays in 2007, with LHP B.J. Ryan (elbow), RHP A.J. Burnett (shoulder), OF Reed Johnson (back), 1B Lyle Overbay (hand), C Gregg Zaun (hand) and LHP Gustavo Chacin (shoulder) all missing long stretches. OF Vernon Wells and Glaus played through nagging injuries but saw their production slide. Staying healthy will be essential in 2008. Rolen and Eckstein give Toronto a new left side of the infield. Gibbons will use spring training to tinker with his batting order, but there won't be much competition for everyday jobs. With Ryan expected to reclaim the closer's job and RHP Jeremy Accardo returning to the setup role, RHP Casey Janssen will try to win the fifth starter's job. RHP Roy Halladay, Burnett, RHP Dustin McGowan and RHP Shaun Marcum are the favorites to win the first four spots.


Baltimore Orioles

Manager: Dave Trembley (first full season).

2007: 69-93, fourth place.

Training Town: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Park: Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/Feb. 19.

He's Here: OF Adam Jones, LHP George Sherrill, OF Luke Scott, RHP Matt Albers, LHP Troy Patton, RHP Dennis Sarfate, 3B Michael Costanzo, RHP Greg Aquino, RHP Lance Cormier, RHP Esteban Yan, C Guillermo Quiroz, LHP Ryan Rodriguez, 1B Tim Brown, RHP J.P. Martinez, RHP Randor Bierd.

He's Outta Here: LHP Erik Bedard, SS Miguel Tejada, CF Corey Patterson, OF Jay Payton, RHP Todd Williams, RHP Rob Bell, C J.R. House, RHP Victor Santos.

Outlook: After years of attempting to stay afloat by signing second-tier free agents, the Orioles have committed to rebuilding through youth under club president Andy MacPhail. By unloading Tejada and Bedard for prospects, MacPhail essentially sacrificed the 2008 season - and maybe 2009 as well - to build for the next decade. The Orioles begin camp looking to fill out a thin starting rotation. They have no closer and no adequate replacement for Tejada, whose departure leaves a gaping hole at SS and the cleanup spot. Trembley will begin his first full year as a major league manager with essentially no hope of ending Baltimore's franchise-record run of 10 straight losing seasons.


Tampa Bay Rays

Manager: Joe Maddon (third season).

2007: 66-96, fifth place.

Training Town: St. Petersburg, Fla.

Park: Progress Energy Park.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 20.

He's Here: RHP Matt Garza, RHP Troy Percival, SS Jason Bartlett, 3B Willy Aybar, OF Cliff Floyd, LHP Trever Miller, 1B-OF Eric Hinske, LHP Brian Anderson.

He's Outta Here: OF Delmon Young, OF Elijah Dukes, INF Brendan Harris, RHP Jay Witasick, LHP Jeff Ridgway, RHP Shawn Camp.

Outlook: The Rays launched a busy offseason by dropping the word ''Devil'' from their nickname, unveiling new uniforms and team colors, and announcing plans to build a new waterfront stadium. The club also pulled the trigger on a big trade that sent Young to Minnesota for Garza and Bartlett, who figure to improve the starting pitching and defense. Tampa Bay also traded troubled youngster Dukes, upgraded the bullpen by signing Percival and acquired Aybar to hold down third base until top prospect Evan Longoria is ready for the majors. The Rays have never won more than 70 games in a season but are confident they're headed in the right direction. Payroll has increased to more than $40 million - up from just over $24 million at the start of last season. But unless the starting pitching and bullpen improve dramatically, it figures to be another long year in a division dominated by the Red Sox and Yankees.


AL CENTRAL

Cleveland Indians


Manager: Eric Wedge (fifth season).

2007: 96-66, first place.

Training Town: Winter Haven, Fla.

Park: Chain of Lakes Park.

First Workout: Feb. 14/Feb. 16.

He's Here: RHP Masahide Kobayashi, INF Jamey Carroll, RHP Jorge Julio.

He's Outta Here: OF Kenny Lofton, OF Trot Nixon, RHP Jason Davis.

Outlook: There wasn't much to do this offseason, and that's a positive. The Indians are bringing back virtually their entire roster from last season when they ran away with the rugged AL Central, knocked the New York Yankees out of the playoffs and had Boston down 3-1 in the ALCS before losing three straight. Wedge's greatest challenge will be getting his young club to the next level. The team recently offered a long-term contract extension to ace C.C. Sabathia, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, who stands to become baseball's next $20-million-per-season pitcher. Talks could carry through spring training. Jeremy Sowers, Aaron Laffey and Cliff Lee are expected to compete for the No. 5 starter's job. Lee, though, could be shopped around along with 3B Andy Marte, who is out of minor league options.


Detroit Tigers

Manager: Jim Leyland (third season).

2007: 88-74, second place.

Training Town: Lakeland, Fla.

Park: Joker Marchant Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 20.

He's Here: 3B Miguel Cabrera, SS Edgar Renteria, OF Jacque Jones, LHP Dontrelle Willis.

He's Outta Here: 1B Sean Casey, INF Omar Infante, LHP Andrew Miller, OF Cameron Maybin.

Outlook: The Tigers are considered title contenders heading into spring training. Detroit followed up a 2006 World Series appearance by contending for a playoff spot deep into last season, then quickly sent a message that it's not content with being merely good. In the first major deal of the offseason, the Tigers acquired All-Stars Cabrera and Willis from Florida by giving up top prospects Maybin and Miller. GM Dave Dombrowski was busy before and after that move, exercising a $16 million option on C Ivan Rodriguez's contract; acquiring Renteria and Jones; and re-signing LHP Kenny Rogers and closer Todd Jones. The Tigers will need to find candidates to fill in for reliever Joel Zumaya, who will miss at least half the season with a shoulder injury.


Minnesota Twins


Manager: Ron Gardenhire (seventh season).

2007: 79-83, third place.

Training Town: Fort Myers, Fla.

Park: Hammond Stadium at Lee County Sports Complex.

First Workout: Feb. 18/Feb. 23.

He's Here: OF Delmon Young, 3B Mike Lamb, SS Adam Everett, INF Brendan Harris, CF Carlos Gomez, CF Jason Pridie, RHP Phil Humber, OF Craig Monroe, LHP Francisco Liriano (returning from elbow surgery).

He's Outta Here: LHP Johan Santana, CF Torii Hunter, RHP Carlos Silva, SS Jason Bartlett, RHP Matt Garza, OF Lew Ford, OF Rondell White, OF Jason Tyner, INF Luis Rodriguez.

Outlook: The Twins were in the news as much as any team in baseball this winter, which culminated with the long-awaited trade of two-time Cy Young Award winner Santana to the Mets. He leaves a huge hole in a rotation that will welcome 2006 All-Star Liriano back, provided he's strong enough after his Tommy John procedure nearly 17 months ago. Even with a healthy Liriano, starting pitching will be a major question for Minnesota while a handful of unproven young hurlers fights to fill the five spots. For now, closer Joe Nathan anchors what should be a dependable bullpen, but he's in the final year of his contract and if the Twins can't stay in contention he would be valuable in a trade. Lost in the hype over Santana's situation and Hunter's departure via free agency to the Angels was the acquisition of Young from the Rays. The Rookie of the Year runner-up could have a significant impact on a lineup that lagged last year. Lamb should upgrade the offense at third, but it's not clear who will lead off and who will play center. Gomez, one of four prospects fetched for Santana, is the front-runner with Pridie and Denard Span also in the mix.


Chicago White Sox


Manager: Ozzie Guillen (fifth season).

2007: 72-90, fourth place.

Training Town: Tucson, Ariz.

Park: Tucson Electric Park.

First Workout: Feb. 17/Feb. 22.

He's Here: SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Nick Swisher, RHP Scott Linebrink, RHP Octavio Dotel, OF Carlos Quentin, INF-OF Alexei Ramirez.

He's Outta Here: RHP Jon Garland, OF Scott Podsednik.

Outlook: No Torii Hunter. No Miguel Cabrera. And no Aaron Rowand, either. The White Sox took some big swings at a splashy acquisition in the offseason and missed. The question is, did they retool enough to rebound from a miserable season? By adding Linebrink and Dotel to a bullpen that was 19-25 with a 5.49 ERA and 23 blown saves, the White Sox think they have a bridge between the starters and closer Bobby Jenks. Now, they need to clear the logjam at third base, where Josh Fields showed promise as a rookie while Joe Crede missed most of last season with a back injury. They also need to settle on a leadoff hitter, center fielder and second baseman. Jerry Owens could lead off and play center if he shows he can hit left-handers. Cabrera, acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for two-time 18-game winner Garland, could also lead off, and Ramirez might wind up in center. Ramirez is also part of a four-way competition at second base.


Kansas City Royals

Manager: Trey Hillman (first season).

2007: 69-93, fifth place.

Training Town: Surprise, Ariz.

Park: Surprise Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/Feb. 19th.

He's Here: OF Jose Guillen, RHP Brett Tomko, RHP Yasuhiko Yabuta, LHP Ron Mahay, C Miguel Olivo, INF Alberto Callaspo, RHP Hideo Nomo, RHP Brian Lawrence, RHP Chin-hui Tsao, LHP Mike Maroth.

He's Outta Here: Manager Buddy Bell, DH-1B Mike Sweeney, OF Emil Brown, OF Reggie Sanders, C Jason LaRue, LHP Odalis Perez, RHP David Riske, RHP Scott Elarton, RHP Billy Buckner.

Outlook: The big change for the Royals is Hillman, the only manager in the big leagues this year who didn't coach or play in the majors. He replaces Bell, who resigned in August but finished out the season. Hillman spent many years managing in the Yankees' minor league system and for the past five seasons was the highly successful manager of Japan's Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. He inherits a young team that will be trying to wrest itself free of four straight last-place finishes in the tough AL Central. Last season the Royals had four impact rookies: RHP Joakim Soria led the club with 17 saves, RHP Brian Bannister led the team with 12 wins, 3B Alex Gordon led AL rookies with 55 extra-base hits and DH-1B Billy Butler hit .292 at age 21. Rookie RHP Luke Hochevar, the first overall pick in the 2006 draft, has a chance to break camp with the club as the No. 4 or 5 starter. First base is wide open with Ryan Shealy, Ross Gload and Butler competing.


AL WEST

Los Angeles Angels


Manager: Mike Scioscia (ninth season).

2007: 94-68, first place.

Training Town: Tempe, Ariz.

Park: Tempe Diablo Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 20.

He's Here: RHP Jon Garland, CF Torii Hunter.

He's Outta Here: RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Greg Jones, RHP Chris Resop, INF Dallas McPherson, SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Tommy Murphy, OF Nick Gorneault.

Outlook: The Angels are solid favorites to win their fourth AL West championship in five years, but that in itself won't be very satisfying. They had high hopes last October before being swept by the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs. Hunter and Garland were the only offseason additions, but both figure to make a significant impact. The Angels figure to have one of baseball's best defensive outfields with Hunter, Gary Matthews Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero or Garret Anderson. Hunter adds some much-needed power. Anderson, terrific in the second half last season, and Guerrero, one of baseball's finest hitters, figure to share the DH duties. Even before the addition of Garland, an 18-game winner in 2005 and '06, the Angels had one of the strongest rotations around with John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and Jered Weaver leading the way. Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis will compete for the starting SS job, with outstanding prospect Brandon Wood waiting in the wings. One concern is Escobar's sore shoulder that will limit him at the beginning of spring training.


Seattle Mariners

Manager: John McLaren (first full season).

2007: 88-74, second place.

Training Town: Peoria, Ariz.

Park: Peoria Sports Complex.

First Workout: Feb. 14/Feb. 20.

He's Here: LHP Erik Bedard, RHP Carlos Silva, OF-1B Brad Wilkerson, INF Miguel Cairo.

He's Outta Here: Manager Mike Hargrove, OF Jose Guillen, RHP Jeff Weaver, 1B-OF Ben Broussard, LHP George Sherrill, OF Adam Jones.

Outlook: GM Bill Bavasi spent much of the offseason trying to upgrade the rotation, and landed Bedard from Baltimore on Friday. The lefty ace came at a hefty price: Sherrill, the Mariners' best lefty in the bullpen, and Jones, a top outfield prospect. Bavasi is obviously trying to win this year, and a rotation of Bedard, Felix Hernandez and Silva gives the Mariners a talented 1-2-3 at the top of the rotation. Seattle is hoping Wilkerson can stay healthy and come close to the numbers Guillen provided last year in right field, but the Mariners did little to upgrade the offense. RHP J.J. Putz is one of the top closers in the game. McLaren gets his first full season as a big league manager after taking over for Hargrove midway through the 2007 season and faces pressure to catch the Angels in an AL West race that's expected to be a two-team chase.

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Oakland Athletics

Manager: Bob Geren (second season).

2007: 76-86, third place.

Training Town: Phoenix.

Park: Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/Feb. 21.

He's Here: OF Emil Brown, RHP Joey Devine, RHP Kirk Saarloos, OF Carlos Gonzalez, LHP Gio Gonzalez, LHP Dana Eveland, OF Ryan Sweeney, LHPs Brett Anderson, RHP Keith Foulke.

He's Outta Here: RHP Dan Haren, OF Nick Swisher, OF Mark Kotsay, DH Mike Piazza, OF Shannon Stewart, INF Marco Scutaro, RHP Colby Lewis.

Outlook: The A's began the offseason with thoughts of adding home run king Barry Bonds and making a run at the Angels in the AL West. Instead, GM Billy Beane dealt Haren, Swisher and Kotsay when he decided to rebuild because he didn't think he had the pieces to match the Angels. Oakland restocked its farm system with the Haren and Swisher deals but it will take a few years to determine whether those moves will translate to wins on the field. The big questions on the field revolve around the health of RHP Rich Harden, 3B Eric Chavez and SS Bobby Crosby, whose injuries last season helped contribute to Oakland's first losing season since 1998. The A's figure to have another after their latest deals.


Texas Rangers

Manager: Ron Washington (second season).

2007: 75-87, fourth place.

Training Town: Surprise, Ariz.

Park: Surprise Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 21.

He's Here: OF Milton Bradley, 1B Ben Broussard, RHP Kazuo Fukumori, CF Josh Hamilton, RHP Jason Jennings, LHP Eddie Guardado, INF Edgardo Alfonzo.

He's Outta Here: DH Sammy Sosa, OF Brad Wilkerson, RHP Akinori Otsuka, RHP Edinson Volquez, INF Jerry Hairston.

Outlook: A healthy Hank Blalock could be one of the most significant additions for Texas. Blalock didn't play third base after May last season, but the two-time All-Star says he is ''back to normal'' following surgery to have a rib removed from near his right shoulder and extra rehabilitation in the offseason. The three spots Washington considered offseason needs were filled: center field (Hamilton), right field (Bradley) and first base (Broussard). But questions persist. Bradley is coming off knee surgery. Broussard was primarily a platoon player the past two years. Hamilton, the first overall draft pick in 1999 who nearly derailed his career through alcohol and drug abuse, has a lot to prove even after a breakout rookie season in Cincinnati. Dallas native Jennings was added to the rotation after being hampered last season by elbow problems, as were Guardado and Fukumori. Guardado provides a much-needed veteran presence in a bullpen missing RHP Eric Gagne and Otsuka. Guardado will likely be a setup man and mentor to closer candidates C.J. Wilson and Joaquin Benoit. The Rangers were 29-28 after the trade deadline and the departures of 1B Mark Teixeira, CF Kenny Lofton, LHP Ron Mahay and Gagne. They will have to keep improving to escape the AL West basement.

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National League team previews

A team-by-team look at the National League entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:

NL EAST

Philadelphia Phillies


Manager: Charlie Manuel (fourth season).

2007: 89-73, first place.

Training Town: Clearwater, Fla.

Park: Bright House Networks Field.

First Workout: Feb. 14/Feb. 19.

He's Here: RHP Brad Lidge, 3B Pedro Feliz, OF Geoff Jenkins, OF So Taguchi, INF Eric Bruntlett, RHP Chad Durbin.

He's Outta Here: OF Aaron Rowand, OF Michael Bourn, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, RHP Geoff Geary, INF Abraham Nunez, RHP Jon Lieber, RHP Freddy Garcia.

Outlook: The Phillies finally got a taste of the postseason, ending a 14-year drought by winning the NL East on the final day of the regular season following a historic collapse by the New York Mets. But Philadelphia got swept out of the division series by Colorado and is hungry to return and go deep. The loss of All-Star CF Rowand might be tougher to fill in the clubhouse than on the field. Rowand's leadership will be missed, but the additions of Jenkins and Feliz should make up for his offensive production. The most significant offseason move came early when the team acquired closer Lidge from Houston and shifted RHP Brett Myers back into the rotation. Myers prefers closing and had success in his first season in that role, but he gives the Phillies a solid 1-2 punch atop the rotation with All-Star Cole Hamels. Barring injuries, the position players are set. There could be competition for the fifth spot in the rotation if Adam Eaton, a free-agent bust last year, doesn't improve after a terrible season. Until the Mets acquired two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, the Phillies might have been favorites to repeat as division champs. It should be a tight race down to the end again.


New York Mets

Manager: Willie Randolph (fourth season).

2007: 88-74, second place.

Training Town: Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Park: Tradition Field.

First Workout: Feb. 16/Feb. 20.

He's Here: LHP Johan Santana, C Brian Schneider, RF Ryan Church, OF Angel Pagan, RHP Matt Wise, RHP Ruddy Lugo, RHP Brian Stokes, RHP Steven Register, LHP Ricardo Rincon.

He's Outta Here: LHP Tom Glavine, C Paul Lo Duca, RF Shawn Green, RHP Guillermo Mota, OF Lastings Milledge, RHP Aaron Sele, OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Philip Humber, OF-INF David Newhan, C Sandy Alomar Jr., 1B-OF Jeff Conine, C Mike DiFelice, LHP Dave Williams.

Outlook: It took nearly the entire offseason for the Mets to make their big splash, but they landed the biggest pitching prize on the market. New York acquired Santana from the Minnesota Twins for four prospects and signed the two-time Cy Young Award winner to a $137.5 million, six-year contract - record riches for a pitcher. Now, the Mets have the durable ace they sorely lacked while chasing a pennant the past two years. The addition of Santana makes them an NL favorite and helps them move beyond last September's embarrassing collapse, when New York squandered a seven-game NL East lead with 17 to play and missed the playoffs. This team was one victory from the 2006 World Series and wants to win now. Carlos Delgado, Moises Alou, Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez have one year left on their contracts. Carlos Beltran is in his prime, David Wright and Jose Reyes will soon enter theirs. All-Star closer Billy Wagner is 36. Santana tops a solid rotation that includes two 15-game winners from last season: John Maine and Oliver Perez. The bullpen would get a big boost from a healthy Duaner Sanchez, sidelined by a shoulder injury since a July 2006 taxi accident. There will be some competition for middle relief roles, but the Mets are mostly set heading into spring training. They could use a right-handed bat to complement Church, and Martinez must get ready after missing most of last season following shoulder surgery. One guy to watch is RHP Mike Pelfrey, the ninth overall pick in the 2005 draft. He is No. 6 in a five-man rotation for now, but figures to get his chance. He was 3-8 with a 5.57 ERA last year, but general manager Omar Minaya is certain Pelfrey is ready to emerge. This is the team's final year at Shea Stadium before moving into a new ballpark, Citi Field.


Atlanta Braves

Manager: Bobby Cox (19th season of current tenure, 23rd with Braves overall).

2007: 84-78, third place.

Training Town: Kissimmee, Fla.

Park: The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports.

First Workout: Feb. 14/Feb. 20.

He's Here: LHP Tom Glavine, CF Mark Kotsay, RHP Jair Jurrjens, LHP Will Ohman, OF Josh Anderson, C Javy Lopez, INF Omar Infante.

He's Outta Here: CF Andruw Jones, SS Edgar Renteria, INF Willy Aybar, OF Willie Harris, RHP Jose Ascanio, RHP Lance Cormier, INF Pete Orr, RHP Oscar Villarreal, RHP Chad Paronto.

Outlook: The Braves, third in their division for two straight seasons, tried to improve their rotation. Glavine is back for what is hoped will be more than just a warm and fuzzy reunion; he's expected to deliver 200 innings and double-digit wins while working behind John Smoltz and Tim Hudson. The team might not have to rely on Mike Hampton's comeback if Jurrjens, acquired in the deal that sent Renteria to Detroit, makes the rotation, possibly pushing Chuck James to the fifth spot. The defense obviously will miss Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner - especially if Mark Kotsay's 2007 back problems resurface. The Braves hope Kotsay can fill in for one season while top prospect Jordan Schafer, who hasn't played above Class-A, spends another year in the minors. If Kotsay is hurting, Josh Anderson could start in center field. Rafael Soriano will have his first chance as the full-time closer.


Washington Nationals

Manager: Manny Acta (second season).

2007: 73-89, fourth place.

Training Town: Viera, Fla.

Park: Space Coast Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 17/Feb. 22.

He's Here: C Paul Lo Duca, C Johnny Estrada, INF Aaron Boone, OF Lastings Milledge, OF Elijah Dukes, OF Rob Mackowiak, OF Willie Harris, RHP Tyler Clippard.

He's Outta Here: C Brian Schneider, OF Ryan Church, 1B-C Robert Fick, OF Nook Logan, INF Tony Batista, INF D'Angelo Jimenez, RHP Jason Simontacchi, RHP Jonathan Albaladejo.

Outlook: Milledge could bring excitement to the lineup, but otherwise the Nationals didn't add much this offseason. Their most expensive acquisition, Lo Duca, had nearly identical offensive stats as Schneider in 2007 - and is sidelined for at least the start of spring training after a left knee operation. The pitching staff is almost 100 percent the same as last season, which is good news in the strong bullpen but means there are plenty of questions about an inexperienced rotation. Other issues heading into camp include: When will 1B Nick Johnson (out all of last season after breaking his right leg in September 2006) be ready? How can Johnson and 1B Dmitri Young both find playing time? Which two of SS Cristian Guzman, 2B Ronnie Belliard and 2B-SS Felipe Lopez will start? Will Dukes stay out of trouble?


Florida Marlins

Manager: Fredi Gonzalez (second season).

2007: 71-91, fifth place.

Training Town: Jupiter, Fla.

Park: Roger Dean Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 18/Feb. 21.

He's Here: LHP Andrew Miller, CF Cameron Maybin, OF Luis Gonzalez, C Mike Rabelo, LHP Mark Hendrickson, INF Dallas McPherson, INF Jose Castillo, INF Jorge Cantu.

He's Outta Here: 3B Miguel Cabrera, LHP Dontrelle Willis, 1B Aaron Boone, RHP Armando Benitez, OF Joe Borchard, OF Reggie Abercrombie.

Outlook: The Marlins must rebuild after yet another payroll purge, this one sending the team's two most popular players - Cabrera and Willis - to the Detroit Tigers. Florida received six players in return, including top prospects Miller and Maybin. The Marlins hope the 22-year-old Miller is ready to join a rotation that ranked last in the majors in ERA in 2007 after being ravaged by injuries. Hendrickson is also expected to start, while McPherson, Castillo and Cantu will battle to replace Cabrera, and newcomers Maybin and Rabelo also have a chance to win starting jobs. The Marlins still have five everyday starters who were part of a banner rookie class in 2006, but Cabrera's departure leaves a huge void in the middle of the lineup. Florida might be hard-pressed to match last year's 71-win total.


NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs


Manager: Lou Piniella (second season).

2007: 85-77, first place.

Training Town: Mesa, Ariz.

Park: Fitch Park, HoHoKam Park.

First Workout: Feb. 13/Feb. 18.

He's Here: OF Kosuke Fukudome, RHP Jon Lieber, RHP Jose Ascanio.

He's Outta Here: OF Jacque Jones, OF Cliff Floyd, LHP Will Ohman, C Jason Kendall, OF Craig Monroe, OF Angel Pagan, RHP Mark Prior.

Outlook: Fukudome gives the Cubs the left-handed bat they've been seeking and a high on-base hitter who should complement run producers such as Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs expect a healthy Alfonso Soriano to be even better than in his first season with the team. The biggest question mark is center field, where speedy Felix Pie must hit or he'll be on the shuttle between the majors and Triple-A again. Rumors were rampant that the Cubs were going to acquire 2B Brian Roberts but the deal has not materialzed with Baltimore. Lieber returns to the team he won 20 games for in 2001. But at age 37, and after a serious foot injury last season, is he capable of being a member of a rotation that might also include former closer Ryan Dempster, who will try to make the change back to starter? Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Rich Hill are the 1-2-3 starters with Jason Marquis and Sean Marshall expected to battle for back-end slots. Carlos Marmol and Bobby Howry are the top candidates to close, with re-signed Kerry Wood a top setup man. The Cubs must avoid last season's slow start that dropped them 8 1/2 games back in June before overtaking Milwaukee.


Milwaukee Brewers

Manager: Ned Yost (sixth season).

2007: 83-79, second place.

Training Town: Phoenix.

Park: Maryvale Baseball Park.

First Workout: Feb. 17/Feb. 23.

He's Here: RHP Eric Gagne, CF Mike Cameron, C Jason Kendall, RHP David Riske, RHP Salomon Torres, RHP Guillermo Mota, LHP Randy Choate, C Eric Munson, OF Gabe Kapler, INF Abraham Nunez.

He's Outta Here: RHP Francisco Cordero, LF Geoff Jenkins, C Johnny Estrada, 3B Corey Koskie, LHP Ray King, RHP Scott Linebrink, RHP Matt Wise, INF Tony Graffanino, OF Kevin Mench, C Damian Miller.

Outlook: After spending 133 days in first place last season, the Brewers look to finally snap a postseason drought that dates to 1982. With a heap of new players added to their young core, the biggest change will be NL Rookie of the Year Ryan Braun's switch from third base to left field. Bill Hall is on the move again, too, his third position change in four years when the shortstop-turned-third baseman-turned-center fielder moves back to third to make room for Cameron. The club says the switch will be immediate, but with Cameron serving a 25-game suspension for a banned stimulant to start the year, what if Tony Gwynn Jr. breaks through and becomes the best option there? The oft-injured Gagne takes over the closer's role from Cordero, who cashed in with the Reds, and there are five new bullpen arms to support holdovers Derrick Turnbow and Brian Shouse.


St. Louis Cardinals

Manager: Tony La Russa (13th season).

2007: 78-84, third place.

Training Town: Jupiter, Fla.

Park: Roger Dean Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 19.

He's Here: 3B Troy Glaus, RHP Matt Clement, SS Cesar Izturis, C Jason LaRue, OF Brian Barton.

He's Outta Here: 3B Scott Rolen, CF Jim Edmonds, SS David Eckstein, RHP Kip Wells, OF So Taguchi, C Gary Bennett, LHP Mike Maroth, RHP Troy Percival.

Outlook: The 2006 World Series champions appear to be in rebuilding mode after jettisoning three core players - Rolen, Edmonds and Eckstein. All had declining statistics and injury issues, and the Cardinals did as well as could be expected in getting the power-hitting Glaus for Rolen, whose ongoing feud with La Russa could have been a distraction. Adam Wainwright and Braden Looper head a rotation heavy on hope, with Mark Mulder not expected back until May and 2005 Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter back from elbow ligament transfer surgery by midseason at best. Matt Clement, who didn't pitch last year while recovering from shoulder surgery, could be a bargain pickup if he returns to health. The outfield will have two new full-time starters, with Juan Encarnacion's career in doubt after he was struck in the left eye by a foul ball last September. Rick Ankiel will get a full-season shot after his impressive career rebirth, with Ryan Ludwick and Skip Schumaker also in the mix. Izturis gets the first shot to replace Eckstein, the 2006 World Series MVP, with Brendan Ryan pushing after his strong rookie season.


Houston Astros


Manager: Cecil Cooper (first full season).

2007: 73-89, fourth place.

Training Town: Kissimmee, Fla.

Park: Osceola County Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/Feb. 19.

He's Here: SS Miguel Tejada, 2B Kaz Matsui, CF Michael Bourn, INF Geoff Blum, OF Darin Erstad, RHP Doug Brocail, RHP Geoff Geary, RHP Jose Valverde, RHP Oscar Villareal.

He's Outta Here: SS Adam Everett, RHP Brad Lidge, RF Luke Scott, INF Eric Bruntlett, RHP Matt Albers, LHP Troy Patton, INF Chris Burke, RHP Chad Qualls, RHP Juan Gutierrez.

Outlook: Tejada was the cornerstone of an active offseason. The Astros seem undaunted that the FBI is investigating whether Tejada lied to House committee investigators about steroids. GM Ed Wade visited Tejada in the Dominican Republic during the Caribbean World Series and expects him to show up at spring training on time. Bourn, a Houston native, will likely lead off and give the Astros a base-stealing threat they lacked last season. The switch-hitting Matsui replaces stalwart 2B Craig Biggio and could be an offensive upgrade - he hit .288 in 2007 and Biggio hit .251. Slugger Lance Berkman shook off a slow start to hit .278 with 34 homers in 2007 and LF Carlos Lee batted .303 with 32 homers, matching a career high. Behind RHP Roy Oswalt, the rotation remains suspect. RHP Brandon Backe went 3-1 late last season after coming back from Tommy John surgery. LHP Wandy Rodriguez and RHP Woody Williams went a combined 17-28 in 2007. The bullpen, inconsistent since Houston won the pennant in 2005, got a major facelift. Valverde, who led the majors with 47 saves in 2007, replaces Lidge as Houston's closer. Brocail, who pitched for the Astros in the mid-90s, had a 3.05 ERA in 67 relief appearances for San Diego last season.


Cincinnati Reds

Manager: Dusty Baker (first season).

2007: 72-90, fifth place.

Training Town: Sarasota, Fla.

Park: Ed Smith Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 17/Feb. 20.

He's Here: RHP Francisco Cordero, RHP Edinson Volquez, LHP Jeremy Affeldt, LHP Kent Mercker.

He's Outta Here: Interim manager Pete Mackanin, OF Josh Hamilton, LHP Eddie Guardado, LHP Eric Milton.

Outlook: Baker was hired to pull the franchise out of its doldrums: seven straight losing seasons. Owner Bob Castellini also hired Walt Jocketty, a friend and former Cardinals GM, as adviser, putting GM Wayne Krivsky in an awkward spot. How they fare will come down to pitching, the team's downfall for years. They signed closer Cordero to a four-year, $46 million deal, hoping to fix a bullpen that had an NL-worst 5.13 ERA and repeatedly failed in the eighth inning. Ex-closer David Weathers (33 saves) can move into an eighth-inning role. The rotation is again a work in progress behind Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo. Volquez, acquired from Texas in a trade for Hamilton, will compete for a spot along with Affeldt, a reliever for Colorado. Top pitching prospect Homer Bailey will be expected to produce after a nondescript rookie season: 4-2, 5.76 ERA. OF Jay Bruce, another top prospect, will compete for a roster spot.


Pittsburgh Pirates

Manager: John Russell (first season).

2007: 68-94, sixth place.

Training Town: Bradenton, Fla.

Park: McKechnie Field.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 20.

He's Here: INF Chris Gomez, RHP Jimmy Barthmaier, LHP Phil Dumatrait, RHP Evan Meek, RHP Ty Taubenheim, OF Kevin Thompson, RHP Jaret Wright.

He's Outta Here: INF Jose Castillo, INF Cesar Izturis, INF Matt Kata, 1B Josh Phelps, RHP Shawn Chacon, RHP Tony Armas, RHP Salomon Torres, LHP Shane Youman.

Outlook: It's difficult to imagine, but a Pirates team coming off three consecutive seasons of 94 losses or more is virtually unchanged. Russell, fired as a coach in 2005 but brought back by a new front office as the manager, is the only significant new face. A rotation that has only one starter with more than 24 career wins (RHP Matt Morris) returns intact, as does the everyday lineup. The only unsettled position is CF, where rookie Nyjer Morgan and Nate McLouth will compete. How will the Pirates compete? They're desperately hoping for a big comeback year from LF Jason Bay, more power from 1B Adam LaRoche, plenty of hits from 2B Freddy Sanchez and SS Jack Wilson and numerous effective starts from a promising rotation led by RHP Ian Snell and LHP Tom Gorzelanny. The bullpen is a worry, especially with innings-eater Torres gone. Getting from 68 wins to at least 81, thus ending a run of 15 consecutive losing seasons, will be a major challenge for a low-payroll team whose offseason pickups came mostly via the waiver wire.


NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks


Manager: Bob Melvin (fourth season).

2007: 90-72, first place.

Training Town: Tucson, Ariz.

Park: Tucson Electric Park.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 20.

He's Here: RHP Dan Haren, RHP Chad Qualls, INF Chris Burke.

He's Outta Here: 1B Tony Clark, RHP Livan Hernandez, RHP Jose Valverde, OF Jeff DaVanon, INF Alberto Callaspo.

Outlook: The Diamondbacks return just about everybody from their surprise 2007 team that had the NL's best record and beat the Cubs in the division series before being swept by Colorado in the NLCS. They bolstered their rotation greatly by acquiring Haren from Oakland. Brandon Lyon takes over as closer from Valverde, traded to Houston after leading the majors with 47 saves last season. One of the biggest questions this spring is the recovery of INF Chad Tracy from microfracture knee surgery. Just what Melvin will do with Tracy once he's healthy is another issue, since the team has Conor Jackson at first and Mark Reynolds at third. Another question is how 44-year-old LHP Randy Johnson comes back from another back surgery.

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Re: Spring Training previews

Colorado Rockies

Manager: Clint Hurdle (seventh season).

2007: 90-73, second place, wild card, NL champions.

Training Town: Tucson, Ariz.

Park: Hi Corbett Field.

First Workout: Feb. 16/Feb. 23.

He's Here: OF Scott Podsednik, 2B Marcus Giles, 2B Jayson Nix, RHP Kip Wells, RHP Luis Vizcaino.

He's Outta Here: 2B Kaz Matsui, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, INF Jamey Carroll, RHP Jorge Julio, LHP Jeremy Affeldt.

Outlook: The NL champion Rockies have just one position up for grabs at spring training: second base. They lost Matsui to Houston in free agency and decided to open up the job to a bevy of candidates, including former first-round draft pick Nix, former SS Clint Barmes, corner infield prospect Ian Stewart, OF Jeff Baker and free agent Giles. Their rotation is set at the top with Jeff Francis, Aaron Cook, who signed a $30 million extension, and Ubaldo Jimenez. Wells, who signed a one-year free-agent contract, is among the candidates for the final two spots, joining Franklin Morales, Jason Hirsh and Mark Redman. Vizcaino replaces Hawkins as a setup man in the bullpen, which was brilliant in the Rockies' run to their first World Series. The Rockies feel fortunate to have re-signed C Yorvit Torrealba, who played a key role in the development of the young staff last year and was set to join the Mets before they pulled the offer off the table. The Rockies didn't make any big splashes in the offseason but did sign SS Troy Tulowitzki to a six-year, $31 million deal, the biggest ever for a second-year player, and signed MVP runner-up Matt Holliday to a $23 million, two-year contract that they hope is the first step toward a long-term deal with their star slugger.


San Diego Padres

Manager: Bud Black (second season).

2007: 89-74, third place.

Training Town: Peoria, Ariz.

Park: Peoria Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 20.

He's Here: CF Jim Edmonds, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, LHP Randy Wolf, RHP Mark Prior, INF Robert Fick.

He's Outta Here: LF Milton Bradley, CF Mike Cameron, 2B Marcus Giles, INF Geoff Blum, INF Morgan Ensberg.

Outlook: The Padres have one of the best pitching staffs in the major leagues, but the big question will be whether their popgun offense can keep the squad in contention after San Diego fell one win short of making the postseason for the third straight year. Jake Peavy was the unanimous NL Cy Young Award winner and got a $52 million, three-year contract extension, the biggest deal in club history. That was the good news. On the flip side, RF Brian Giles is coming off microfracture surgery on his right knee, and Edmonds is coming off a subpar season due to shoulder and toe surgeries - although he is returning to his native Southern California. Wolf is coming off shoulder surgery, but he's ready to go as opposed to Prior, who isn't expected to be ready until mid-to-late May due to shoulder surgery. After winning the West in 2005 and '06, the Padres were passed by Arizona and Colorado. Not only did the Rockies beat the Padres in a 13-inning, wild-card tiebreaker, they made it all the way to the World Series.


Los Angeles Dodgers

Manager: Joe Torre (first season).

2007: 82-80, fourth place.

Training Town: Vero Beach, Fla.

Park: Holman Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 15/Feb. 20.

He's Here: CF Andruw Jones, C Gary Bennett, RHP Hiroki Kuroda, RHP Chan Ho Park, RHP Tanyon Sturtze.

He's Outta Here: Manager Grady Little, OF Luis Gonzalez, C Mike Lieberthal, RHP D.J. Houlton, RHP Roberto Hernandez, RHP Chin-hui Tsao, LHP Randy Wolf, LHP Mark Hendrickson, LHP David Wells, INF Olmedo Saenz, INF Shea Hillenbrand, INF Mark Sweeney.

Outlook: Torre's hiring should help bring peace to a clubhouse where friction arose during the team's late-season collapse last year. After managing the Yankees to four World Series championships during his 12-year tenure, Torre should command respect from veterans and youngsters alike. The addition of Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, figures to add much-needed power and improved defense. The rotation should be improved with the signing of Japanese star Kuroda and the hoped-for return of RHP Jason Schmidt, who underwent season-ending surgery last June. C Russell Martin became an All-Star last year in his first full big league season, 1B James Loney displayed star potential after being recalled from the minors June 10, and young outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier might be ready to follow suit. Kemp, Ethier and Juan Pierre will compete for the corner outfield spots, and veteran Nomar Garciaparra will battle rookie Andy LaRoche for the third base job. Otherwise, the Dodgers seem pretty set.


San Francisco Giants

Manager: Bruce Bochy (second season).

2007: 71-91, fifth place.

Training Town: Scottsdale, Ariz.

Park: Scottsdale Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/Feb. 19.

He's Here: OF Aaron Rowand, RHP Keiichi Yabu.

He's Outta Here: OF Barry Bonds, 3B Pedro Feliz, 1B Ryan Klesko, RHP Scott Munter, RHP Russ Ortiz.

Outlook: The post-Bonds era begins in San Francisco after the team decided not to bring back the home run king for a 16th season. That leaves a big void in the middle of the lineup, but also removes a cloud of controversy that has followed the team in recent years. With Bonds gone, the focus in San Francisco is on pitching and defense. An offense that struggled to score with Bonds and Feliz figures to have even more problems this season despite the addition of Rowand. RHPs Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum headline a starting rotation that figures to be the strength of the team for years to come.

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