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NL West Division preview


Arizona Diamondbacks

New manager Kirk Gibson expects a lot from the Diamondbacks, and perhaps that's why a week before opening day he pointedly left Joe Saunders off the list of who was set in his opening day starting rotation. While Gibson announced a few days later that Saunders would indeed be in the rotation, it's obvious that he and new general manager Kevin Towers want to establish the idea that mediocrity isn't acceptable. "We're in a performance-oriented game," Towers told reporters. While Saunders had a bad spring, Russell Branyan was good enough to win a spot on the roster, and Barry Enright won a rotation job. Mike Hampton did not win a job, and he retired. -- Danny Knobler

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

Colorado Rockies

There's no doubt now that this team belongs to Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, and that's just fine. It's also fine with Todd Helton, who happily handed over face-of-the-team duties. It's a good team, and one that should be able to overcome the spring loss of starting pitcher Aaron Cook, who will be out for the first part of the season with a broken finger. Esmil Rogers, who had the Rockies excited even in the early days of camp, pitched very well in spring games and earned the open spot, joining a rotation that is headed by Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge De La Rosa, and also includes Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel. The rest of the spring was smooth enough that Tulowitzki could spend part of it asking fans to help him pick his walkup music. -- Knobler

More Division Previews

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

Los Angeles Dodgers

Early in camp, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was proudly touting the depth he had in the rotation, which included six starters when camp began. Then Vicente Padilla got hurt, and the Dodgers were down to five starters. Jon Garland got hurt, and the Dodgers were down to four starters. Later, the Dodgers lost their starting catcher, when Dioner Navarro suffered a torn oblique muscle. It hasn't exactly been a smooth spring for rookie manager Don Mattingly, but the Dodgers' fate still rests more on whether Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier become the players they could be. -- Knobler

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

San Diego Padres

What last spring taught us was, never underestimate the Padres (or anyone else, for that matter). They broke camp in Peoria, Ariz., and rolled to 90 wins. So who knows what this spring will teach us? Without Adrian Gonzalez, the Padres face a difficult task. But I like some pieces they've added -- center fielder Cameron Maybin, shortstop Jason Bartlett, second baseman Orlando Hudson and utilityman Jorge Cantu. This team will have to spread the offense around more than last year, when Gonzalez accounted for roughly 24 percent of the runs (via his RBIs and runs scored). The Padres remain built around pitching, especially starter Mat Latos (his sore shoulder at the end of spring, though, is worrisome). Three bullpen pieces remain important: Closer Heath Bell and setup men Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson. -- Scott Miller

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

San Francisco Giants

If you're thinking this year can't possibly be like last year for the Giants, then any hiccup seems ominous. Matt Cain goes for an early MRI on his elbow. Brian Wilson strains his oblique. Cody Ross sprains his calf. There's no guarantee any of this actually is ominous. Cain returned to the mound and will begin the season on schedule. Wilson is said to be improving and may not miss much of the season, if any. Ross is out for three weeks, but let's remember the Giants didn't have him at all for the first 4½ months of last year. The Giants still have that strong rotation that carried them to the title, and while plenty could go wrong, the thousands of fans who descended on Scottsdale clad in orange and black shouldn't panic yet. -- Knobler

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


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