BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING

Spring Training 2013: Grapefruit League preview

mnavarro@MiamiHerald.comFebruary 17, 2013 

ATLANTA BRAVES

Outlook: After winning 94 games and getting bounced in the wild-card game by the Cardinals, Atlanta waved goodbye to the retiring Chipper Jones and decided to get actively involved in trades in the offseason. The biggest move involved shipping the versatile Martin Prado to Arizona for 25-year-old outfielder Justin Upton. This came after Atlanta spent $75.25 million on a five-year deal to sign his older brother, B.J. Upton, to share the outfield with him and Jason Heyward. The team also exercised its option to keep All-Star catcher Brian McCann and resigned Tim Hudson to again anchor the starting rotation. Will it be enough to catch the Nationals?

Top returning players: SP Tim Hudson (16-7, 3.62 ERA), C Brian McCann (.230, 20 HRs, 67 RBI), 2B Dan Uggla (.220, 19 HRs, 78 RBI), RF Jason Heyward (.269, 27 HR, 82 RBI), 1B Freddie Freeman (.259, 23 HR, 94 RBI), SP Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA), CP Craig Kimbrel (1.01 ERA, 42 SV).

Key losses: 3B Chipper Jones, OF Michael Bourn, SP Tommy Hanson, 2B Martin Prado.

Key additions: OF Justin Upton, OF B.J. Upton, RP Jordan Walden, 3B Chris Johnson.

Stadium/ticket info: Champion Stadium, 700 S. Victory Way, Kissimmee. www.braves.com or call 800-745-3000. Ticket prices: $10-$49.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Outlook: Coming off its most successful season in 15 years, a wild-card berth and a trip to the divisional series, Baltimore didn’t end up landing a big bat. In fact, it was a relatively quiet offseason, the only major move being the loss of first baseman Mark Reynolds to Cleveland. The good news: outfielder Nolan Reimold, who underwent season-ending neck surgery, will be healthy at the start of camp along with Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts. Top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausmin will get a look for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

Top returning players: SP Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.43 ERA), CP Jim Johnson (.249 ERA, 51 SV), SP Wei-Yin Chen (12-11, 4.02 ERA), OF Adam Jones (.287, 32 HR, 82 RBI), SS J.J. Hardy (.238, 22 HR, 68 RBI), DH Chris Davis (.270, 33 HR, 85 RBI), C Matt Wieters (.249, 23 HR, 83 RBI), OF Nick Markakis (.298, 13 HR, 54 RBI).

Key losses: 1B Mark Reynolds, 2B Robert Andino, OF Endy Chavez, RP Kevin Gregg, OF Endy Chavez.

Key additions: OF Yamaica Navarro, RP Daniel Schlereth, OF Trayvon Robinson, OF Jason Pridie, 1B Travis Ishikawa.

Stadium/ticket info: Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th Street, Sarasota. www.orioles.com or call 941-893-6300. Ticket prices: $8-32.

BOSTON RED SOX

Outlook: Boston posted its lowest win total since 1965 in a 69-win, last-place finish. The facelift has continued since then as the Red Sox have added veteran outfielder Shane Victorino, power-hitting first baseman Mike Napoli, starting pitcher Ryan Dempster and closer Joel Hanrahan. Though Boston has not made the playoffs each of the past three seasons, owner John Henry is optimistic improved health and the new additions, as well as the right manager in charge, will make a big difference in 2013.

Top returning players: SP Jon Lester (9-14, 4.82 ERA), SP Clay Buchholz (11-8, 4.56 ERA), C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.222, 25 HR, 59 RBI), 2B Dustin Pedroia (.290, 15 HR, 65 RBI), DH David Ortiz (.318, 23 HR, 60 RBI), OF Cody Ross (.267, 22 HR, 81 RBI), CP Alfredo Aceves (5.36 ERA, 25 SV).

Key losses: RP Vicente Padilla, SP Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP Aaron Cook, RP Scott Atchison, RP Mark Melancon, 1B James Loney.

Key additions: OF Shane Victorino, 1B Mike Napoli, SP Ryan Dempster, SS Stephen Drew, DH Johnny Gomes, RP Joel Hanrahan.

Stadium/ticket info: JetBlue Park at Fenway South, 11581 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers. Information and tickets: www.redsox.com or call 888-REDSOX6. Ticket prices: $10-$46.

DETROIT TIGERS

Outlook: The defending American League champions are focused on getting back to the World Series and winning. Detroit parted ways with closer Jose Valverde and enters camp with that spot as its biggest question mark. Bruce Rondon, a 22-year-old Venezuelan with a 102-mph fastball, is a viable candidate to win that job. If he’s not ready, Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke or Octavio Dotel likely would earn those duties. Top offensive prospects Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia will also try to impress manager Jim Leyland and earn an Opening Day spot on the roster.

Top returning players: 3B Miguel Cabrera (.330, 44 HR, 139 RBI), 1B Prince Fielder (.313, 30 HR, 108 RBI), OF Austin Jackson (.300, 16 HR, 66 RBI), SS Jhonny Peralta (.239, 13 HR, 63 RBI), SP Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64 ERA), SP Anibal Sanchez (4-6, 3.74 ERA), SP Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74 ERA).

Key losses: OF Delmon Young, C Gerald Laird, OF Ryan Raburn, RP Daniel Schlereth, CP Jose Valverde.

Key additions: OF Torii Hunter, C Brayan Pena, RP Octavio Dotel.

Stadium/ticket info: Joker Marchant Stadium, 2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland. www.tigers.com or call 866-668-4437. Ticket prices: $10-$32.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Outlook: Of the 61 players on the spring roster, only 22 were in major-league camp with Houston a year ago. That’s a good thing when you consider the Astros won just 55 games last season. New manager Bo Porter is trying to change the culture of a team that lost a club-record 107 games last season by posting motivational signs all over the locker room. The Astros signed a handful of veterans in the offseason to one-year deals — outfielder Rick Ankiel, starting pitcher Erik Bedard, first baseman Carlos Pena and reliever Jose Veras were those additions. Houston will make its debut in the American League West this season.

Top returning players: SP Lucas Harrell (11-11, 3.76 ERA), SP Bud Norris (7-13, 4.65 ERA), 2B Jose Altuve (.290, 7 HR, 37 RBI), LF J.D. Martinez (.241, 11 HR, 55 RBI).

Key losses: SS Jed Lowrie, RP Fernando Rodriguez, RP Wilton Lopez, SP Aneury Rodriguez.

Key additions: 1B Chris Carter, RP John Ely, SP Phillip Humber, 1B Carlos Pena, RP Jose Veras, SP Alex White, SP Erik Bedard, OF Rick Ankiel.

Stadium/ticket info: Osceola County Stadium, 631 Heritage Park Way, Kissimmee. www.astros.com or call 321-697-3200. Ticket prices: $15-$40.

MINNESOTA TWINS

Outlook: After finishing with the worst record in the American League for the second year in a row and the second-worst ERA in the majors, the Twins went shopping for starting pitching in the offseason. They gave up starting outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere to get Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia, all from the National League. There are question marks at second base, shortstop and center field. Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon, Jamey Carroll and Eduardo Escobar are candidates for both infield spots, and Darin Mastroianni will battle top prospects Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson in center.

Top returning players: SP Scott Diamond (12-9, 3.54 ERA), C Joe Mauer (.319, 10 HR, 85 RBI), LF Josh Willingham (.260, 35 HR, 110 RBI), 1B Justin Morneau (.267, 19 HR, 77 RBI), C Ryan Doumit (.275, 18 HR, 75 RBI).

Key losses: SP Scott Baker, RP Matt Capps, CF Ben Revere, OF Denard Span, SP Carl Pavano.

Key additions: SP Kevin Correia, P Trevor May, SP Mike Pelfrey, SP Vance Worley, SP Rich Harden, 1B Jeff Clement.

Stadium/ticket info: Lee County Sports Complex — Hammond Stadium, 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers. www.twinsbaseball.com or call 800-33TWINS. Ticket prices: $13-$43.

NEW YORK METS

Outlook: After four consecutive fourth-place finishes in the National League East, the Mets are hoping 2013 is a season of improvement — even with the loss of Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto. All eyes will be on two of the best prospects in baseball — pitcher Zach Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Both are a big part of the club’s future along with pitcher Matt Harvey, who went 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 2012. Former Marlins catcher John Buck will keep d’Arnaud’s seat warm until he’s ready. In the meantime, the re-signed David Wright will try to carry the offense.

Top returning players: SP Jonathon Niese (13-9, 3.40 ERA), SP Johan Santana (6-9, 4.85 ERA), , 3B David Wright (.306, 21 HR, 93 RBI), 1B Ike Davis (.227, 32 HR, 90 RBI), 2B Daniel Murphy (.291, 6 HR, 65 RBI).

Key losses: SP R.A. Dickey, SP Mike Pelfrey, OF Scott Hairston, OF Jason Bay, SS Ronny Cedeno, RP Jon Rauch, C Kelly Shoppach, C Josh Thole, OF Andres Torres.

Key additions: C John Buck, OF Collin Cowgill, SS Brandon Hicks, RP Brandon Lyon, SP Shaun Marcum.

Stadium/ticket info: Tradition Field, 525 NW Peacock Boulevard, Port St. Lucie. www.mets.com or call 877-538-6282. Ticket prices: $8-$25.

NEW YORK YANKEES

Outlook: The Yankees have a lot of health concerns: Mariano Rivera’s knee, Alex Rodriguez’s hip, Derek Jeter’s ankle and C.C. Sabathia’s elbow. In all, 84 players opened camp in pinstripes. Not among them are a few big-name free agents who left the Bronx after the 2012 season: Outfielders Raul Ibanez and Nick Swisher, reliever Rafael Soriano and catcher Russell Martin. The big new additions? Designated hitter Travis Hafner and third baseman Kevin Youkillis.

Top returning players: SS Derek Jeter (.316, 15 HR, 58 RBI), 2B Robinson Cano (.313, 33 HR, 94 RBI), CF Curtis Granderson (.232, 43 HR, 106 RBI), 1B Mark Teixeira (.251, 24 HR, 84 RBI), OF Ichiro Suzuki (.322, 5 HR, 27 RBI), SP Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32 ERA), SP CC Sabathia (15-6, 3.38 ERA), SP Phil Hughes (16-13, 4.23 ERA), SP Ivan Nova (12-8, 5.02 ERA), SP Andy Pettitte (5-4, 2.87 ERA).

Key losses: 3B Eric Chavez, SP Freddy Garcia, OF Raul Ibanez, C Russell Martin, SS Ramiro Pena, RP Rafael Soriano, OF Nick Swisher.

Key additions: DH Travis Hafner, 3B Kevin Youkillis.

Stadium/ticket info: George M. Steinbrenner Field, One Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. www.yankees.com or call 800-96-YANKS. Ticket prices: $17-$33.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Outlook: With an aging lineup and a starting rotation also starting to show slippage, the Phillies finished third in the division last year. Now with the shine off, Philadelphia opens camp with a handful of new additions and question marks. The new arrivals including outfielders Ben Revere, expected to start in center, Delmon Young and third baseman Michael Young. Former Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, 35, struggled last season because of back and shoulder issues.

Top returning players: SS Jimmy Rollins (.250, 23 HR, 68 RBI), SP Cole Hamels (17-6, 3.05 ERA), LHP Cliff Lee (6-9, 3.16 ERA), RHP Roy Halladay (11-8, 4.49 ERA), 1 2B Chase Utley (.256, 11 HR, 45 RBI), 1B Ryan Howard (.219, 14 HR, 56 RBI).

Key losses: 3B Placido Polanco, SP Vance Worley, RP Jose Contreras, C Brian Schneider, RHP Josh Lindblom, OF Juan Pierre, OF Nate Schierholtz, IF Ty Wiggington, RHP David Herndon.

Key additions: OF Ben Revere, 3B Michael Young, OF Delmon Young, RP Mike Adams, SP John Lannan, RP Chad Durbin.

Stadium/ticket info: Bright House Field, 601 N. Old Coachman Rd, Clearwater. www.phillies.com or call 727-467-4457. Ticket prices: $14-$34. Parking is $9.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Outlook: The Pirates have had 20 consecutive losing seasons, but came so close to finally ending it last year before finishing 79-83. They’re hoping left fielder Starling Marte will start them off on the right foot and earn the leadoff role. The Pirates were unhappy No. 3 hitter Andrew McCutchen’s league-leading 194 hits could translate to only 96 RBI. Pittsburgh said lost closer Joel Hanrahan and starter Kevin Correia. But it added power-hitting catcher Russell Martin from the Yankees and have talented pitching prospect Gerritt Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, knocking on the big-league door.

Top returning players: CF Andrew McCutchen (.327, 31 HR, 96 RBI), 3B Pedro Alvarez (.244, 30 HR, 85 RBI), 2B Neil Walker (.280, 14 HR, 69 RBI), 1B Garrett Jones (.274, 27 HR, 96 RBI), SP AJ Burnett (16-10, 3.51 ERA), SP Wandy Rodriguez (12-13, 3.76 ERA), SP James McDonald (12-8, 4.21 ERA).

Key losses: C Rod Barajas, RP Joel Hanrahan, SP Kevin Correia, RP Chris Resop.

Key additions: C Russell Martin, RP Mark Melancon, RP Vin Mazzaro, 1B/OF Jerry Sands, LHP Francisco Liriano.

Stadium/ticket info: McKechnie Field, 1611 9th Street West, Bradenton. www.pirates.com or call 941-747-3031. Ticket prices: $12-$22.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Outlook: After falling one win short of a repeat trip to the World Series, the Cardinals endured a quiet winter before starting pitcher Chris Carpenter was lost for the season. With Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) still unsigned and available in free agency, St. Louis could be tempted to re-sign him. Despite the loss of Lance Berkman, the Cardinals will continue to have one of the best lineups in the National League. Watch for outfielder Oscar Taveras, ranked as MLB.com’s third-best prospect. He and pitcher Shelby Miller, a September call-up last year, are a big part of St. Louis’ future.

Top returning players: SP Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94 ERA), SP Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92 ERA), SP Lance Lynn (18-7, 3.78 ERA), RF Carlos Beltran (.269, 32 HR, 97 RBI), LF Matt Holliday (.295, 27 HR, 102 RBI), 1B Allen Craig (.307, 22 HR, 92 RBI), C Yadier Molina (.315, 22 HR, 76 RBI), 3B David Freese (.293, 20 HR, 79 RBI), CP Jason Motte (.275, 42 SV).

Key losses: SP Kyle Lohse, 1B Lance Berkman, UTL Skip Schumaker, SP Chris Carpenter.

Key additions: RP Randy Choate, UTL Ty Wigginton, SS Ronny Cedeno.

Stadium/ticket info: Roger Dean Stadium, 4751 Main Street, Jupiter. www.cardinals.com or call 561-755-1818. Ticket prices: $8-$40. Parking is $7.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

Outlook: With arguably the best farm system in baseball, the Rays weren’t afraid to let go of several top-tier free agents from last season’s 90-win team. Gone are outfielder B.J. Upton and 200-inning eater James Shields. The replacements? There are plenty of talented young options, including phenom Wil Myers, acquired from the Royals in the big trade for Shields. Also, Evan Lognoria appears to be fully recovered from a partially torn hamstring. With him, the Rays went 47-27. Without him, they were 41-44.

Top returning players: 3B Evan Longoria (.289, 17 HR, 55 RBI), LF Matt Joyce (.241, 17 HR, 59 RBI), RF Ben Zobrist (.270, 20 HR, 74 RBI) SP David Price (20-5, 2.56 ERA), SP Matt Moore (11-1, 3.81 ERA), SP Jeremy Hellickson (10-11, 3.10 ERA), CP Fernando Rodney (0.60 ERA, 48 SV).

Key losses: OF B.J. Upton, SP James Shields, 1B Carlos Pena, RP Wade Davis, RP Jay Howell, IF Jeff Keppinger.

Key additions: SS Yunel Escobar, 1B James Loney, SP Roberto Hernandez, UTL Kelly Johnson, RP Juan Carlos Oviedo.

Stadium/ticket info: Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte. www.raysbaseball.com or call 727-898-RAYS. Ticket prices: $10-27.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Outlook: The most eventful offseason in franchise history means the Blue Jays now must prove they can live up to the hype. The starting rotation, which ranked 25th in ERA (4.82), added three All-Stars in Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. Adding the speedy Jose Reyes and NL batting champion Melky Cabrera to the top of the order will only help Jose Bautista in his comeback from a left wrist injury. An interesting position battle could develop with Maicer Izturis and former Marlin Emilio Bonifacio at second base.

Top returning players: RF Jose Bautista (.241, 27 HR, 65 RBI), 1B Edwin Encarnacion (.280, 42 HR, 110 RBI), 3B Brett Lawrie (.273, 11 HR, 48 RBI), SP Brandon Morrow (10-7, 2.96 ERA), SP Ricky Romero (9-14, 5.27 ERA), CP Casey Janssen (2.54 ERA, 22 SV).

Key losses: SS Yunel Escobar, 2B Kelly Johnson, SP Henderson Alvarez, RP Jason Frasor.

Key additions: SS Jose Reyes, UTL Emilio Bonifacio, IF Maicer Izturis, LF Melky Cabrera, SP R.A. Dickey, SP Josh Johnson, SP Mark Buehrle.

Stadium/ticket info: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Avenue, Dunedin. www.bluejays.com or call 727-733-0429. Ticket prices: $15-$30.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS

Outlook: The Nationals enjoyed the best record in baseball in 2012 — 98-64 — but bowed out in the Division Series to the Cardinals. With staff ace Stephen Strabsurg cleared to pitch without restrictions this year, the Nationals expect to repeat as NL East champions and make a deeper run in the playoffs for 70-year-old manager Davey Johnson, who says he will retire after this year General manager Mike Rizzo brought in closer Rafael Soriano and starter Dan Haren to help solidify a pitching staff that lost a couple of relievers and didn’t resign Edwin Jackson.

Top returning players: SP Stephen Strasburg (15-6, 3.16 ERA), SP Gio Gonzalez (12-8, 2.89 ERA), 3B Ryan Zimmerman (.282, 25 HR, 95 RBI), RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 2.94 ERA), 1B Adam LaRoche (.271, 33 HR, 100 RBI), LF Bryce Harper (.270, 22 HR, 59 RBI), SS Ian Desmond (.292, 25 HR, 73 RBI).

Key losses: OF/1B Michael Morse, SP Edwin Jackson, SP Sean Burnett, RP Tom Gorzelanny, INF Mark DeRosa.

Key additions: CP Rafael Soriano, C Kurt Suzuki, CF Denard Span, SP Dan Haren.

Stadium/ticket info: Space Coast Stadium, 5800 Stadium Parkway, Viera. www.nationals.com or call 1-888-632-NATS. Ticket prices: $12-$26.

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