Continued from page 6


Cleveland Indians

2010: 69-93, fourth place.

Manager: Manny Acta (2nd season).

He’s Here: INF Orlando Cabrera, OF Travis Buck, INF Adam Everett, 3B Jack Hannahan, OF Austin Kearns, RHP Joe Martinez, RHP Doug Mathis, C Paul Phillips.

He’s Outta There: INF Andy Marte, C Chris Gimenez.

Projected Lineup: CF Grady Sizemore (.211, 0, 13 in 33 games), SS Asdrubal Cabrera (.276, 3, 29 in 97 games), RF Shin-Soo Choo (.300, 14, 66, 22 SBs), C Carlos Santana (.260, 6, 22 in 46 games), DH Travis Hafner (.278, 13, 50), 2B Orlando Cabrera (.263, 4, 42 with Cincinnati), 1B Matt LaPorta (.221, 12, 41), 3B Jason Donald (.253, 4, 24 in 88 games), LF Michael Brantley (.246, 3, 22, 10 SBs in 72 games).

Rotation: RH Fausto Carmona (13-14, 3.77), RH Justin Masterson (6-13, 4.70 _ 2.86 in last 13 games), RH Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 3.83 in 7 starts), Mitch Talbot (10-13, 4.41 as rookie), RH Josh Tomlin (6-4, 4.56 in 12 starts).

Key Relievers: RH Chris Perez (2-2, 1.71, 23 saves in 27 chances, 0.53 ERA in last 33 games), RH Chad Durbin (4-1, 3.80 in 64 games for Philadelphia), RH Joe Smith (2-2, 3.83), LH Rafael Perez (6-1, 3.25, team-high 70 outings).

Hot Spots: Sizemore’s not opening the season with the Indians as he recovers from microfracture knee surgery. The club is keeping its fingers crossed that the 28-year-old can again be the full-steam-ahead All-Star that made him one of baseball’s most exciting players. The pressure’s on LaPorta, who hasn’t lived up to expectations since he was acquired in the 2009 trade for CC Sabathia. In fairness, LaPorta never completely recovered last season after undergoing two operations the previous winter. He’s in better baseball shape, and his bat looks quick again. Cleveland needs him to be a thumper.

Outlook: Acta’s infectious energy is perfect for the majors’ youngest club. Last season, injuries to Sizemore, Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera forced the Indians to bring up minor leaguers before they were ready. But that baptism by fire could pay dividends this season. Acta expects the Indians to win _ now _ and he has told them that since training camp opened. No excuses. Carmona bounced back nicely after an awful ‘09 and anchors a rotation that needs someone else to emerge as a double-digit winner. It could be Carrasco, who can effectively control four pitches. The Indians need their young players to step up and blossom together. That’s what happened in the early 1990s, setting the stage for Cleveland’s dominant run in the AL Central.


Kansas City Royals

2010: 67-95, last place.

Manager: Ned Yost (2nd full season).

Story Continues →