The Angels had minor health issues with their starting rotation this spring, with Scott Kazmir missing a start because of tightness in his shoulder and Ervin Santana missing one after banging his elbow on a piece of furniture. But that's nothing compared to last spring, when Santana, John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar all began the season on the disabled list, and the Angels went on to use 10 different starting pitchers in the first 35 games of the season.
They have a very minor early concern in the bullpen, where Fernando Rodney missed some workout days with soreness in both shins. But that's nothing like last year, when Scott Shields developed the knee problem that would require surgery and cost him most of the 2009 season.
The Angels have questions as this season opens, but it appears they'll have their five-man rotation ready to go, along with a bullpen fortified by the addition of Rodney and the return of Shields.
It was such a smooth spring that the Angels were even able to get Hideki Matsui some time in the outfield, the first time he had played a defensive position since June 2008.
There are still questions about how the Angels will overcome the departure of Lackey and Chone Figgins, but those can only be answered during the season. The good news for the Angels is that this spring, no new questions arose. -- Danny Knobler
Jered Weaver: The Angels played down the need for a true ace, but it appears that Weaver will get the assignment as opening day starter. If there's an ace here, it's probably him.
Erick Aybar: The shortstop isn't going to be Chone Figgins, but he will get the first chance to take over Figgins' vacated spot at the top of the Angels lineup. On a team that lives on speed and pressuring the defense, that's a big responsibility.
Will this forever be remembered as the spring of Ron Washington and cocaine? Or is there any chance it will be remembered as the one where C.J. Wilson became a starting pitcher?
If the Rangers get off to a slow start, the 2009 positive drug test that was revealed this spring could help cost their manager his job. But if the move of Wilson from a key spot in the bullpen to a just-as-key slot in the rotation works, it could help Washington and the Rangers stick around. Wilson joins opening day starter Scott Feldman, free agents Rich Harden and Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison in a rebuilt starting staff. Neftali Feliz, the other 2009 reliever who auditioned for a starting spot this spring, will stay in the bullpen for now.
Now, if the Rangers can just keep everyone healthy. Josh Hamilton missed time early in the spring with a sore shoulder, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was out for a while with neck spasms, and Ian Kinsler had a high ankle sprain that even had his availability for opening day in some doubt.
Oh, and prospective owner Chuck Greenberg had to deny whispers that approval of the team's sale was in any trouble.
None of them were the big story of the spring, and Wilson wasn't, either. No, chances are this will be remembered as the Rangers' cocaine spring. -- Knobler
Rich Harden: Through the first three weeks of spring games, Harden had an 11.25 ERA and a fastball that had lost some of its zip. He said he wasn't worried, but if things don't improve soon, the Rangers might.
Michael Young: This is the third baseman's team, a point made late last year by manager Ron Washington. And when Young stood up to defend his manager during the cocaine crisis, it was a big step towards Washington holding onto his team -- and his job.
The spring hasn't exactly gone as smoothly as the winter did for the Mariners, has it? They won't open the season with the top of the rotation they imagined, due to Cliff Lee's strained abdominal muscle (and a suspension for throwing at Arizona's Chris Snyder in a spring game). And the hopes that Milton Bradley would be a solid citizen didn't last the spring. First, Bradley was thrown out of back-to-back spring games. Then he compared himself to Kanye West and Ron Artest.
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The questions about the back end of the rotation remain, enough so that you keep wondering when the Mariners are going to get a deal done to bring Jarrod Washburn back. They certainly seem to need another starting pitcher, even if Lee is healthy, and if Ryan Rowland-Smith and Ian Snell don't come through, they might need more than one.
One part of the spring that did go smoothly was the position switch involving Chone Figgins and Jose Lopez. After a few weeks of trying it out, the M's announced that Figgins will indeed be their second baseman, with Lopez shifting over to third base.
The top of the batting order looks fine, with Ichiro Suzuki leading off and Figgins batting behind him. The Mariners only hope that they'll be able to say the same about the top of the rotation. -- Knobler
David Aardsma: The right-hander had a rough early spring, which has to concern a team that is counting on Aardsma to be the solid closer he was in 2009.
Ken Griffey Jr.: Junior has been great for the Mariners clubhouse, but should they be worried that with a week to go before opening day, his spring batting average was .161? Perhaps so, especially on a Mariner team that has little or no power.
Here's all you need to know about the Athletics offensively: Manager Bob Geren suggested to reporters last week that he's leaning towards batting Ryan Sweeney third. Yes, Ryan Sweeney, who in 1,051 major-league at-bats -- basically two full seasons -- has exactly 12 home runs and 108 RBIs. Ryan Sweeney, who hit 34 home runs (total) in six minor league seasons.
Now you know why the A's are once again emphasizing the stolen base, and also why they'd most like to tell you that their pitching could be pretty good.
For the pitching to be good, Ben Sheets will need to prove he can stay healthy and pitch effectively. He's 1 for 2 this spring, with no health issues reported but also a 17.28 ERA with a week to go. Sheets and Justin Duchscherer, the other A's starter who missed all of 2009, have had somewhat similar springs. Both say they're healthy. Each has had one game where he gave up double-digit runs (Sheets gave up 10 without getting an out).
Speaking of health, closer (and American League Rookie of the Year) Andrew Bailey missed two weeks with elbow trouble (he returned to the mound this week), and setup man Michael Wuertz was shut down with shoulder trouble.
The A's went into the final week of camp still deciding between Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill for the final spot in the starting rotation. -- Knobler
Eric Chavez: The A's finally gave away Chavez's third-base job when they traded for Kevin Kouzmanoff, but Chavez has been healthy this spring and could see plenty of playing time at first base.
Ben Sheets: Even if the A's don't prove to be good enough to stay in the American League West race, they need to see Sheets pitch well. Sheets, signed to a one-year, $10 million deal, could bring back quite a few prospects if he's healthy and pitching well in July.