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AL West Division preview


Los Angeles Angels

The Angels say that the surgery to repair slugger Kendrys Morales' fractured leg includes a long healing process, so we'll have to take them at their word as Morales opens the season on the disabled list 11 months after surgery. Maybe it will be overshadowed by the emergence of spring phenom Mark Trumbo, who swung his way onto the roster and will get some starts at first in Morales' absence. I'm not sold on Maicer Izturis at third base, especially given that Izturis has made nine trips to the disabled list since 2005. The leadoff spot in the lineup remains a question as well. The best thing about this team is its rotation -- at least, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Joel Pineiro. The outfield defense -- Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter -- will be a kick to watch. -- Scott Miller

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

Oakland Athletics

Alarms sounded throughout Oakland's camp when closer Andrew Bailey clutched his elbow and walked off the mound in a Cactus League game. Fortunately, it was only a forearm strain and we should see him soon. Also fortunately, the A's are deep in the pen with Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour, Brad Ziegler, Michael Wuertz and Co. That, combined with a talented and healthy rotation -- Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden and probably Brandon McCarthy -- make Oakland instant contenders. One huge key will be whether DH Hideki Matsui has much left. He looked old and slow of bat this spring. David DeJesus and Josh Willingham should help kick-start the offense. -- Miller

More Division Previews

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

Seattle Mariners

This team definitely will be worth watching every fifth day. Cy Young Felix Hernandez is just 24 and is the best thing going in Seattle this side of Ichiro Suzuki. Problem is, the Mariners likely won't be worth watching the four days between The King's starts. After scoring the fewest runs in the designated hitter era in 2010 en route to 101 losses, it again is really hard to see the Mariners scoring much more this year. They're hanging their hopes on journeyman DH Jack Cust, improvement from Milton Bradley and Chone Figgins boosting his on-base percentage. The only growth chart needed in this lineup configuration is for first baseman Justin Smoak, 24, the centerpiece of last summer's Cliff Lee deal. This team needs an infusion of young prospects, pronto. -- Miller

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

Texas Rangers

Whatever you believe, whether Neftali Feliz should start or relieve, his presence is the best evidence in the post-Cliff Lee Era that the Rangers will continue to win. Feliz eventually will start. That the Rangers were having difficulty deciding this spring whether that would be in 2011 or 2012 speaks to his unique talent -- and their desire to win now (so for now, it's back to closer for Feliz). Starters C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis will be watched closely to see whether they can replicate their 2010 success. One of the best things about this spring was the continued maturation of young pitchers Derek Holland and Michael Kirkman. The Rangers will score a ton. I like that Josh Hamilton will play left instead of center -- better chance of keeping him off the disabled list. Shortstop Elvis Andrus remains a joy to watch. -- Miller

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


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