AL East preview: Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles
Manager: Joe Girardi (4th year) He's here: RP Rafael Soriano (3 years, $35 million), C Russell Martin (1 year, $4 million), SP Freddy Garcia...
2010: 85-77 (4th)Dates in Seattle:
April 11-13, Aug. 15-17
2010: 66-96 (5th)Dates in Seattle:
May 30-June 1
2010: 95-67(2nd, wild card)Dates in Seattle:
May 27-29, Sept. 12-14
Blue Jays Lineup
New York Yankees
Manager: Joe Girardi (4th year)
He's here: RP Rafael Soriano (3 years, $35 million), C Russell Martin (1 year, $4 million), SP Freddy Garcia (minor-league deal), OF Andruw Jones (1 year, $2 million).
He's outta here: SP Andy Pettitte (retired), 1B-DH Lance Berkman (signed with St. Louis), SP Javier Vazquez (signed with Florida), RP Kerry Wood (signed with Cubs).
Written in Stone: The Core Four is down to the Elderly Three with the retirement of Andy Pettitte, and the remaining five-ringers — Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada — are definitely on the downside. But that doesn't mean they are finished, nor does it mean the Yankees won't once again be knocking on the playoff door. There's simply too much firepower up and down their lineup. Yet for all the money the Yankees are paying out — nearly $200 million again — they still have huge question marks at the back end of their rotation. In fact, if you throw in inconsistent A.J. Burnett, the questions nudge the front end, too. Alex Rodriguez, another year removed from hip surgery, had a strong spring and seems poised for another monster season. And until he indicates otherwise, 41-year-old Rivera with a lead remains one of the surest bets in baseball.
Toronto Blue Jays
Manager: John Farrell (1st year)
He's here: RP Frank Francisco (traded from Texas), OF Juan Rivera (traded from Angels), RP Octavio Dotel (1 year, $3.5 million).
He's outta here: OF Vernon Wells (traded to Angels), C John Buck (signed with Florida), SP Shaun Marcum (traded to Milwaukee), RP Kevin Gregg (signed with Baltimore), 1B Lyle Overbay (signed with Pittsburgh).
Written in Stone: The Blue Jays won 85 games last year, a 10-game improvement, but all they got for their troubles was a fourth-place finish, 11 games out of first. Now they'll try to better that without Vernon Wells (GM Alex Anthopoulos deserves a medal for getting someone — in this case the Angels — to take the remaining $86 million on his misguided contract) and All-Star catcher John Buck. The biggest mystery this year for Toronto will be whether Jose Bautista can repeat, or even remotely approach, his astonishing 54-homer output last year. If Bautista regresses dramatically, it's big trouble for new manager John Farrell, the former Red Sox pitching coach. The Jays are hoping this is finally the breakout year for Mill Creek's Travis Snider, whose offensive potential has yet to translate into a full, productive year.
Manager: Buck Showalter(2nd year)
He's here: DH Vladimir Guerrero (1 year, $8 million), 3B Mark Reynolds (traded from Arizona), 1B Derrek Lee (1 year, $7.5 million), RP Kevin Gregg (2 years, $10 million), SS J.J. Hardy (traded from Minnesota), SP Justin Duchscherer (1 year, $700,000).
He's outta here: INF Ty Wigginton (signed with Colorado).
Written in Stone: Buck Showalter has a tendency to grate over time, but he has a proven track record of turning teams around in his second season. He took the Yankees from 76 to 88 wins, the Diamondbacks from 65 to 100, and the Rangers from 71 to 89. Last year, after taking over the woebegone Orioles in August, Showalter's impact was immediate. Inheriting a team with the major's worst record under Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel (32-73), he guided them to a 34-23 record. Somehow, he got through to the Orioles pitchers, whose ERA went from 5.18 (29th in the league) to 3.54 (7th) under Showalter. Brian Matusz was 7-1 with a 2.18 ERA under the new manager. The Orioles were aggressive over the winter in pursuit of their first winning season since 1997, adding Derrek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
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