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AL Central teams at the start of spring training
A team-by-team look at the American League Central entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:
Manager: Brad Ausmus (first season).
2013: 93-69, first place, lost to Boston in ALCS.
Training Town: Lakeland, Fla.
Park: Joker Marchant Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 14/18.
He’s Here: RHP Joba Chamberlain, OF Rajai Davis, 2B Ian Kinsler, LHP Ian Krol, INF Steve Lombardozzi, RHP Joe Nathan.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Jim Leyland, RHP Joaquin Benoit, 1B Prince Fielder, RHP Doug Fister, 2B Omar Infante, C Brayan Pena, SS Jhonny Peralta, RHP Jose Veras.
Going campin’: The Tigers have never made the postseason four straight years, but they look like favorites to do just that after winning a third consecutive AL Central title in 2013. Of course, this team already looks a good bit different from last season’s. Leyland stepped down following Detroit’s playoff loss to Boston and was replaced by Ausmus, who takes over a star-studded roster that still includes the winners of the last three AL MVP Awards (Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander) and two of the last three Cy Young Awards (Max Scherzer and Verlander). Cabrera was hobbled down the stretch last season but is expected to be ready for spring training after offseason surgery. Verlander has also been on the mend after core muscle repair surgery in January, and his progress will be a major story during spring training as he tries to get ready for the start of the season. The Tigers traded Fielder for Kinsler and signed Nathan to replace Benoit. They also traded Fister, opening a spot in the rotation for LHP Drew Smyly, who was impressive in relief last year. Detroit might not hit as many homers, but the Tigers should be improved defensively. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be any better overall than last season - they might not have to be to win another division championship.
Manager: Terry Francona (second season).
2013: 92-70, second place, lost wild-card game to Tampa Bay.
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
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