AL East Division preview


Baltimore Orioles

This should be Baltimore's best team in years. The Orioles sure talked a good game when I spent time with them in early March -- starting with Buck Showalter, who is entering his first full season as manager and is just what the Birds need. But the deeper the O's got into spring camp, the more the thread began to unravel. Second baseman Brian Roberts (back) and first baseman Derrek Lee (wrist) have been plagued by soreness, and if those two aren't right in 2011, the Orioles won't be, either. Despite his boatload of strikeouts, I like that the O's are taking a flier on third baseman Mark Reynolds. J.J. Hardy will increase production at shortstop. Vladimir Guerrero's bat will be welcome. Still, it's all about the development of the youngsters: Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and crew. -- Scott Miller

Miller: Camp report | Likes and dislikes | Video: Outlook

Boston Red Sox

Strange times when Boston enters as the prohibitive -- and I mean prohibitive -- favorite in the AL East, but that's where the Red Sox are after a camp that started strong and is ending the same way. All manager Terry Francona and the boys needed to do was keep everyone healthy, and they have. Key within that were second baseman Dustin Pedroia (foot), first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (shoulder) and third baseman Kevin Youkilis (thumb). Both Pedroia and Youkilis missed significant time last year, and Gonzalez underwent shoulder surgery following San Diego's season. All are ready to go, as are Carl Crawford, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Heck, even Daisuke Matsuzaka was throwing strikes near the end of camp. Look out. -- Miller

More Division Previews

Miller: Camp report | Likes and dislikes | Video: Outlook

New York Yankees

Wouldn't it be fascinating if Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon came back to life in the Yankees' rotation? Crazier things have happened. Watching Garcia and Colon battle to salvage their careers this spring, you began to get the idea they actually can help the Yankees. If they and/or Ivan Nova contribute behind CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett, look out. Alex Rodriguez has had a terrific spring. Mark Teixeira changed things up this winter and has worked toward reversing his annual slow April start. Derek Jeter's new stride is coming along, and maybe this will be the year Robinson Cano wins the MVP award. The Yanks led the majors in runs last year and could again this year. It's all about the pitching. They pitch, they'll win. -- Miller

Miller: Camp report | Likes and dislikes | Video: Outlook

Tampa Bay Rays

Hang around the Rays for even a few days and you can't help but like the vibe. Manager Joe Maddon sets the tone for a team that works hard and has fun doing it. Even after losing essentially their entire bullpen and several key position players, there was a confidence in camp that tells you the culture truly has changed in Tampa Bay. And if their rotation stays healthy, the Rays have a chance to contend again. The question is, what happens behind David Price, James Shields, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and Jeremy Hellickson? I'm not hip on closer Kyle Farnsworth. Nor am I sold on veterans Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. After massive losses, I have trouble believing they won't take a large step back -- even with that stellar rotation. -- Miller

Miller: Camp report | Likes and dislikes | Video: Outlook

Toronto Blue Jays

Someone mentioned the other day that it's amazing how few times Vernon Wells' name was mentioned in Blue Jays camp this spring. Take that any way you want, but this team does seem to be changing. Two of the most talked-about players in camp were young guys acquired in trades, pitcher Kyle Drabek (who will make the opening day roster) and third baseman Brett Lawrie (who won't, but may be in Toronto a lot sooner than anyone expected when spring began). Three other guys who won't be on the opening day roster: closer Frank Francisco, who had shoulder trouble; starter Brandon Morrow, who had an elbow problem; and setup man Octavio Dotel, who had hamstring issues. The Jays are hopeful none of the three will miss much time. -- Danny Knobler

Knobler: Camp report | Likes and dislikes | Video: Outlook


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