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AL: At a glance

The Spokesman-Review

American League

A team-by-team look at the American League entering spring training, including players each club acquired and lost, and reporting dates for pitchers and catchers, and full squads:


Baltimore Orioles

Manager: Lee Mazzilli (second season).

2004: 78-84, third place.

Training Town: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Park: Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 19/Feb. 23.

He’s Here: RF Sammy Sosa, LHP Steve Kline, RHP Steve Reed, INF Enrique Wilson, INF Chris Gomez, RHP Jay Witasick, 3B Chris Stynes, OF Midre Cummings, RHP James Baldwin, LHP Tony Saunders.

He’s Outta Here: 2B-OF Jerry Hairston Jr., LHP Buddy Groom, 1B David Segui.

Outlook: The Orioles spent the entire off-season trying to make a splash and finally did when they traded for Sosa, who grew unhappy with the Chicago Cubs. He fits right in the middle of a dangerous lineup loaded with power, but the young rotation probably is still too thin. Baltimore needs a big year from RHP Sidney Ponson. Kline, one of the best left-handed setup specialists around, should help the bullpen. It’s hard to imagine this team making up much ground on the Yankees and Red Sox.

Boston Red Sox

Manager: Terry Francona (second season).

2004: 98-64, second place, wild card, World Series champions.

Training Town: Fort Myers, Fla.

Park: City of Palms Park.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 17/Feb. 21.

He’s Here: SS Edgar Renteria, LHP David Wells, RHP Matt Clement, RHP Wade Miller, OF Jay Payton, RHP Matt Mantei, INF Ramon Vazquez, LHP John Halama, INF-C Shawn Wooten, INF-OF Dave Berg, OF Billy McMillon, RHP Josias Manzanillo, RHP Jack Cressend, RHP Jeremi Gonzalez.

He’s Outta Here: RHP Pedro Martinez, RHP Derek Lowe, SS Orlando Cabrera, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, 2B-SS Pokey Reese, RHP Scott Williamson, OF Dave Roberts, LHP Mike Myers, OF Gabe Kapler, RHP Terry Adams, RHP Curtis Leskanic, RHP Ramiro Mendoza, INF Ricky Gutierrez, DH Ellis Burks, RHP Pedro Astacio.

Outlook: What quest could possibly remain after winning the World Series for the first time in 86 years? Find a way to foil the hated Yankees again. GM Theo Epstein did an excellent job of retooling during a hectic off-season. Martinez will be missed but the pitching staff is still deep, especially if Wells and Miller are healthy. Clement could prove to be an upgrade over Lowe – at a better price, too. RHP Curt Schilling is coming off ankle surgery and hopes to be ready by opening day. Miller might be a steal if he recovers from a shoulder injury. The best offense in baseball returns almost completely intact, plus a big upgrade at SS in Renteria. The club wisely re-signed C Jason Varitek and appointed him captain. Now that they finally ended The Curse, there’s no reason the Red Sox can’t beat the Yankees in October again.

New York Yankees

Manager: Joe Torre (10th season).

2004: 101-61, first place.

Training Town: Tampa, Fla.

Park: Legends Field.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 15/Feb. 20.

He’s Here: LHP Randy Johnson, RHP Carl Pavano, RHP Jaret Wright, 2B Tony Womack, 1B Tino Martinez, RHP Felix Rodriguez, LHP Mike Stanton, LHP Buddy Groom, OF Doug Glanville, INF-OF Damian Rolls.

He’s Outta Here: RHP Jon Lieber, RHP Javier Vazquez, RHP Orlando Hernandez, 2B Miguel Cairo, OF Kenny Lofton, 1B John Olerud, 1B Tony Clark, RHP Esteban Loaiza, INF Enrique Wilson, LHP Felix Heredia, LHP C.J. Nitkowski, LHP Brad Halsey, 1B Travis Lee.

Outlook: The Yankees have won seven straight division titles, but they’re coming off the biggest collapse in postseason history after blowing a 3-0 lead against rival Boston in the A.L. championship series. The preposterous payroll will be somewhere around $200 million – but that doesn’t always buy clutch hits in October. These Yankees must develop the unshakable poise that carried the club to four World Series titles from 1996-2000. They haven’t won it all since, and that’s the only thing that matters in the Bronx. Johnson is the perfect addition, providing the dominant ace and left-handed power arm the team was sorely lacking. At 41, he needs to be fresh come playoff time. There are plenty of question marks, mostly psychological. Will 1B-DH Jason Giambi be affected by the steroid scandal? How will Pavano handle the pressure of pitching in New York? Can Wright reproduce his big season with Atlanta? Does RHP Kevin Brown have anything left? Is 3B Alex Rodriguez the gritty leader that George Steinbrenner expects? This is a pretty old team, and injuries could be a big factor. The bullpen should be outstanding.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Manager: Lou Piniella (third season).

2004: 70-91, fourth place.

Training Town: St. Petersburg, Fla.

Park: Al Lang Field.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 17/Feb. 22.

He’s Here: OF Danny Bautista, 3B Alex S. Gonzalez, 2B Roberto Alomar, 1B Travis Lee, RHP Hideo Nomo, LHP Casey Fossum, LHP Denny Neagle, DH Josh Phelps, INF Shane Halter, C Kevin Cash, RHP Jimmy Haynes, DH-OF Marty Cordova, OF Tom Goodwin, C Tim Laker, OF Dee Brown, OF Chris Singleton, 3B Brandon Larson, OF-1B Brian Buchanan, LHP Joe Beimel.

He’s Outta Here: OF Jose Cruz Jr., 1B Tino Martinez, LHP John Halama, RHP Todd Ritchie, C Brook Fordyce, 2B-SS Rey Sanchez, INF Geoff Blum, RHP Chad Gaudin, RHP Jeremi Gonzalez, INF-OF Damian Rolls, OF Midre Cummings.

Outlook: The Devil Rays set a franchise record for wins in 2004 and finished higher than last place for the first time in their seven-year history. But they ranked last in the A.L. in hitting (.258) and 13th in runs, and they didn’t do much to help the offense during the off-season. The rotation is unproven, too, so it might be tough to match last season’s “success.” With a chance to play every day, Alomar hopes to rejuvenate his career. He is 276 hits shy of 3,000. Gonzalez will move from SS to 3B. CF Rocco Baldelli is expected to miss the first two months of the season following knee surgery. Tampa Bay is stockpiling some young talent, including All-Star OF Carl Crawford, LHP Scott Kazmir and SS B.J. Upton.

Toronto Blue Jays

Manager: John Gibbons (first full season).

2004: 67-94, fifth place.

Training Town: Dunedin, Fla.

Park: Knology Park.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 19/Feb. 24.

He’s Here: 3B Corey Koskie, DH-INF Shea Hillenbrand, LHP Scott Schoeneweis, RHP Billy Koch, RHP Chad Gaudin, LHP Scott Downs, INF John McDonald, C Ken Huckaby.

He’s Outta Here: 1B Carlos Delgado, INF Chris Gomez, SS Chris Woodward, INF-OF Dave Berg, LHP Valerio De Los Santos, RHP Pat Hentgen, RHP Kevin Frederick, C Kevin Cash.

Outlook: Gibbons, who guided the young Blue Jays to a 20-30 record last season after Carlos Tosca was fired, returns with a one-year contract. The loss of Delgado leaves a hole in the middle of a lineup that was already huge disappointment last year. RHP Roy Halladay expects to be healthy and hopes to return to his Cy Young form of 2003. Eric Hinske moves from 3B to 1B to make room for the dependable Koskie, who is from Canada and will be a fan favorite. The farm system is rich, the defense should be sharp and the rotation has potential. Toronto plans to increase its payroll over the next three years.


Chicago White Sox

Manager: Ozzie Guillen (second season).

2004: 83-79, second place.

Training Town: Tucson, Ariz.

Park: Tucson Electric Park.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 16/Feb. 21.

He’s Here: RF Jermaine Dye, RHP Orlando Hernandez, OF Scott Podsednik, C A.J. Pierzynski, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, RHP Dustin Hermanson, RHP Luis Vizcaino.

He’s Outta Here: RF Magglio Ordonez, LF Carlos Lee, SS Jose Valentin, 2B Roberto Alomar, LHP Scott Schoeneweis, RHP Dan Wright, C Sandy Alomar Jr.

Outlook: The White Sox have finished second to Minnesota for three consecutive years and will be hard-pressed to get over the hump this season, especially after losing Ordonez. In fact, they might have a tough time holding off Cleveland. Chicago improved its defense and team speed by adding Iguchi and Podsednik, who stole 70 bases for Milwaukee last season but needs to get his on-base percentage back up. DH Frank Thomas (ankle surgery) is expected back sometime between April and June. The offense needs another huge year from 1B Paul Konerko. Hernandez and fellow Cuban Jose Contreras will probably determine how good the rotation is. The bullpen is deep.

Cleveland Indians

Manager: Eric Wedge (third season).

2004: 80-82, third place.

Training Town: Winter Haven, Fla.

Park: Chain Of Lakes Park.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 17/Feb. 22.

He’s Here: RHP Kevin Millwood, OF Juan Gonzalez, LHP Arthur Rhodes, INF Alex Cora, INF Jose Hernandez, RHP Denny Stark, RHP Steve Watkins.

He’s Outta Here: SS Omar Vizquel, OF Matt Lawton, RHP Rick White, DH Josh Phelps, INF Lou Merloni, INF John McDonald, RHP Jose Jimenez, C Tim Laker.

Outlook: The improving Indians made enormous strides last year and hope to challenge for the division crown in 2005. Young sluggers Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez lead the offense, while RHP Jake Westbrook and LHP C.C. Sabathia highlight an up-and-coming rotation. Much is expected of Millwood. Gonzalez’s last full season came with Cleveland in 2001, when he had 35 HRs and 140 RBIs. Casey Blake moves from 3B to LF to make room for Aaron Boone, who missed last season with a knee injury. International League MVP Jhonny Peralta takes over at SS for Vizquel. Rhodes should help, but the bullpen is still shaky.

Detroit Tigers

Manager: Alan Trammell (third season).

2004: 72-90, fourth place.

Training Town: Lakeland, Fla.

Park: Joker Marchant Stadium.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 17/Feb. 21.

He’s Here: RF Magglio Ordonez, RHP Troy Percival, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, INF Ramon Martinez, C Vance Wilson, OF Dewayne Wise, RHP Andrew Good, RHP Colby Lewis, INF-OF Mike Hessman.

He’s Outta Here: RHP Esteban Yan, RHP Al Levine, 3B Eric Munson, INF-OF Greg Norton, RHP Roberto Novoa.

Outlook: After losing an A.L.-record 119 games in 2003, the Tigers improved by 29 wins last season, the second-best turnaround since the league expanded in 1961. Now they hope to contend in a wide-open division, but .500 would probably be a more realistic goal. Remember, this team hasn’t even had a winning season since 1993. Detroit gave Ordonez a $75 million, five-year contract to anchor the lineup, with the right to void most of the deal if his left knee flares up again. All-Star SS Carlos Guillen is coming off a breakout season – and a knee injury. The young pitching must continue to improve. Percival and Farnsworth should boost the bullpen.

Kansas City Royals

Manager: Tony Pena (fourth season).

2004: 58-104, fifth place.

Training Town: Surprise, Ariz.

Park: Surprise Stadium.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 19/Feb. 24.

He’s Here: RHP Jose Lima, OF Terrence Long, OF Eli Marrero, 3B Chris Truby, RHP Dennis Tankersley, INF Denny Hocking, OF Brian L. Hunter.

He’s Outta Here: 3B Joe Randa, OF Juan Gonzalez, LHP Darrell May, C Benito Santiago, C Kelly Stinnett, INF Desi Relaford, LHP Dennys Reyes, RHP Miguel Asencio, OF Dee Brown, RHP Ryan Bukvich.

Outlook: After making a surprising run at the division title two years ago, the Royals were one of baseball’s biggest disappointments in 2004. They traded star CF Carlos Beltran in June, and their 5.15 ERA ranked last in the A.L. This young group looks no better. Lima, who resurrected his career with KC in 2003, is the only major addition to the pitching staff. SS Angel Berroa, the 2003 A.L. Rookie of the Year, hopes to rebound after a demotion to the minors last year. With the exception of promising RHP Zack Greinke, the rotation is wide open. RHP Runelvys Hernandez is back after missing last season because of Tommy John surgery. 3B Mark Teahen, a top prospect acquired in the Beltran deal, is on the way. If 1B Mike Sweeney gets hurt again, the season could get ugly.

Minnesota Twins

Manager: Ron Gardenhire (fourth season).

2004: 92-70, first place.

Training Town: Fort Myers, Fla.

Park: Hammond Stadium.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 20/Feb. 25.

He’s Here: SS Juan Castro, C Mike Redmond, 3B Eric Munson, LHP C.J. Nitkowski, OF Armando Rios, OF Jason Tyner, INF Brent Abernathy.

He’s Outta Here: 3B Corey Koskie, SS Cristian Guzman, C Henry Blanco, DH-INF Jose Offerman, RHP Joe Roa, LHP Aaron Fultz, RHP Seth Greisinger, C Pat Borders.

Outlook: This team could certainly win its fourth straight division title – all despite a tight budget. The Twins had the Yankees on the ropes in the playoffs last year but let the series slip away. Now, the goal is to reach the World Series. Cy Young winner Johan Santana gives Minnesota a realistic chance. RHP Brad Radke re-signed, so the pitching staff that led the A.L. with a 4.03 ERA returns just about every key member. Can closer Joe Nathan duplicate his dominant season? The Twins are still excited about young C Joe Mauer, who missed almost all of last season with a knee injury. The left side of the infield must be rebuilt. Gardenhire and GM Terry Ryan do a masterful job.


Anaheim Angels

Manager: Mike Scioscia (sixth season).

2004: 92-70, first place.

Training Town: Tempe, Ariz.

Park: Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 16/Feb. 21.

He’s Here: CF Steve Finley, SS Orlando Cabrera, RHP Esteban Yan, RHP Paul Byrd, INF Kendry Morales, OF Juan Rivera, INF Lou Merloni, SS-2B Maicer Izturis.

He’s Outta Here: OF Jose Guillen, RHP Troy Percival, 3B Troy Glaus, SS David Eckstein, RHP Aaron Sele, RHP Ramon Ortiz, INF Shane Halter, INF Alfredo Amezaga, 1B Andres Galarraga.

Outlook: After getting swept by Boston in the first round of the playoffs, the Angels wanted to improve their rotation more than they did. They missed out on the top pitchers available and landed only Byrd, who isn’t bad when he’s healthy. Finley and Cabrera were solid additions, and the roster is deep and balanced. Morales is a 21-year-old switch-hitter from Cuba who could make a big impact. Chone Figgins probably will start the season at 2B while Adam Kennedy recovers from a knee injury. Dallas McPherson will get a shot at 3B. Former setup man Francisco Rodriguez replaces Percival as the closer.

Oakland Athletics

Manager: Ken Macha (third season).

2004: 91-71, second place.

Training Town: Phoenix.

Park: Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 19/Feb. 23.

He’s Here: C Jason Kendall, RHP Dan Haren, RHP Kiko Calero, OF Charles Thomas, RHP Keiichi Yabu, LHP Dan Meyer, RHP Juan Cruz, 2B-3B Keith Ginter, RHP Tim Harikkala, RHP Seth Etherton, OF-INF Jermaine Clark, OF Hiram Bocachica, RHP Jimmy Serrano.

He’s Outta Here: RHP Tim Hudson, LHP Mark Mulder, RF Jermaine Dye, LHP Mark Redman, LHP Arthur Rhodes, C Damian Miller, RHP Jim Mecir, LHP Chris Hammond, INF Mark McLemore, RHP Justin Lehr, OF Billy McMillon, INF Esteban German.

Outlook: Oakland missed the playoffs last season for the first time in five years, then traded Hudson and Mulder, two of its three aces, for young talent. That puts a lot of pressure on LHP Barry Zito. This is a team in transition, but crafty GM Billy Beane is used to that. The Athletics hope Haren, Meyer and RHP Joe Blanton can develop into another Big Three. RHP Rich Harden already looks like the real deal. The lineup is underrated, keyed by Kendall and 3B Eric Chavez. SS Bobby Crosby was the A.L. Rookie of the Year. 2B Mark Ellis missed last season with a shoulder injury. Power-hitting prospect Nick Swisher is expected to replace Dye in RF. Macha’s contract is up after this season, but he was already offered an extension. On paper, it doesn’t look as though this team can contend in the competitive A.L. West, but the A’s might surprise some people.

Seattle Mariners

Manager: Mike Hargrove (first season).

2004: 63-99, fourth place.

Training Town: Peoria, Ariz.

Park: Peoria Sports Complex.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 16/Feb. 21.

He’s Here: 3B Adrian Beltre, 1B Richie Sexson, SS Pokey Reese, RHP Aaron Sele, RHP Jeff Nelson, INF Ricky Gutierrez, INF Yuniesky Betancourt, OF-C Kit Pellow, INF Benji Gil.

He’s Outta Here: DH Edgar Martinez, INF-OF Jolbert Cabrera, OF Hiram Bocachica, RHP Aaron Taylor.

Outlook: The Mariners got real old real fast and last year struggled through their worst season since 1983. They replaced Bob Melvin with Hargrove, who is 996-963 in 13 seasons as a manager with Cleveland and Baltimore. RF Ichiro Suzuki set a major league record with 262 hits and the offense still scored only 698 runs, worst in the league, so Seattle went out and spent big bucks on Beltre and Sexson. Beltre is coming off a huge, breakout season with the Dodgers. Sexson, who played only 23 games for Arizona last year because of a shoulder injury, has hit 45 HRs twice. LHP Jamie Moyer, 42, gave up 44 HRs last season. RHP Joel Pineiro needs a bounce-back year. 2B Bret Boone enters the final year of his contract. There is plenty of young talent, and several prospects could get a chance. The defense should be solid.

Texas Rangers

Manager: Buck Showalter (third season).

2004: 89-73, third place.

Training Town: Surprise, Ariz.

Park: Surprise Stadium.

Reporting Dates: Feb. 16/Feb. 21.

He’s Here: RF Richard Hidalgo, C Sandy Alomar Jr., 1B Greg Colbrunn, RHP Pedro Astacio, RHP Ryan Bukvich, INF Mark DeRosa, C Robert Machado, RHP Vladimir Nunez, INF Esteban German.

He’s Outta Here: OF Brian Jordan, OF-INF Eric Young, DH Brad Fullmer, RHP Jeff Nelson, DH Herbert Perry, RHP Jay Powell, INF Andy Fox, C Ken Huckaby, OF Rusty Greer, RHP Jeff Zimmerman.

Outlook: The Rangers improved by 18 wins last season and remained in the race until the final week, earning Showalter his second Manager of the Year Award. Now, they hope to take the next step and make the playoffs. But GM John Hart has not strayed from his commitment to young players and smart spending. The biggest reason for the turnaround was a surprisingly effective pitching staff paced by RHP Ryan Drese and closer Francisco Cordero (49 saves). LHP Kenny Rogers won 18 games at age 39 and Texas was fifth in the league in ERA (4.53), better than the Yankees. The question is, can they do it again? 1B Mark Teixeira, 2B Alfonso Soriano, SS Michael Young and 3B Hank Blalock probably make up the best infield in baseball – and Soriano is the oldest among them at 29.

Mike Fitzpatrick, Associated Press

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