- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
National League capsules
Question of the Day
Capsules of National League teams, listed in order of finish last year:
2010: 97-65, first place, lost in NLCS.
Manager: Charlie Manuel (7th season).
He’s Outta There: OF Jayson Werth, RHP Chad Durbin, LHP Jamie Moyer.
Projected Lineup: CF Shane Victorino (.259, 18 HRs, 69 RBIs, 34 SBs), 3B Placido Polanco (.298, 6, 52), SS Jimmy Rollins (.243, 8, 41 in 88 games), 1B Ryan Howard (.276, 31, 108), LF Raul Ibanez (.275, 16, 83), RF Ben Francisco (.268, 6, 28), C Carlos Ruiz (.302, 8, 53), 2B Wilson Valdez (.258, 4, 35) or Luis Castillo (.235, 0, 17 in 86 games with Mets).
Rotation: RH Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44 ERA, 219 Ks, unanimous NL Cy Young winner), LH Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 with Seattle and Texas), RH Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76 with Houston and Phillies), LH Cole Hamels (12-11, 3.06, 211 Ks), RH Joe Blanton (9-6, 4.82).
Key Relievers: RH Brad Lidge (1-1, 2.96, 27 saves in 32 chances), RH Ryan Madson (6-2, 2.55), RH Jose Contreras (6-4, 3.3), LH J.C. Romero (1-0, 3.68).
Hot Spots: RF, 2B. The Phillies are hoping Francisco can replace the departed Werth in right field and give the offense comparable production. John Mayberry Jr. and rookie Domonic Brown, who will start the season in the minors after having hand surgery, could also end up playing right. A knee injury that has sidelined five-time All-Star second baseman Chase Utley leaves a big void in Philadelphia’s lineup. Utley’s return is uncertain, so the Phillies are counting on super-sub Valdez or possibly Castillo, a former All-Star who was released by the Mets. Neither could replace Utley’s bat. Rollins, a former MVP, may move down from the leadoff spot to hit third during Utley’s absence.
Outlook: The Phillies entered spring training as the consensus favorites to win the World Series after adding Lee to an already formidable starting rotation. However, injuries to Utley, Brown and Polanco have depleted an offense that is coming off a down year and must overcome losing Werth in the middle of the lineup. Lidge also has been bothered by an injury, and that raises concerns about the bullpen. With the four aces and Blanton, the Phillies should be in every game. But if the hitters don’t pick up the slack, they’ll have to rely on that pitching to win 1-0, 2-1 many nights. Expectations in the city are high. The Phillies won the World Series in 2008 and fans expect a few more championships. Anything less than a parade down Broad Street won’t be considered a successful season for the four-time NL East champs.
2010: 91-71, second place, wild card.
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
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