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Same two beasts of the AL East are likely to lead again
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Red Sox and Yankees are powerhouses, but expectations are also high for the Rays
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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Saturday, February 9, 2019 – Print Edition, Page S10


A team-by-team look at the American League East 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: BOSTON RED SOX Manager: Alex Cora (second season).

2018: 108-54, first place, World Series champions.

Training Town: Fort Myers, Fla.

Park: JetBlue Park at Fenway South.

First Workout: Feb. 13 He's Here: OF Gorkys Hernandez, RHP Jenrry Mejia.

He's Outta Here: RHP Craig Kimbrel, RHP Joe Kelly, 2B Ian Kinsler.

Going campin': The Red Sox are largely standing pat as they attempt to win back-to-back World Series for the first time in more than a century. The team that won a franchise-record 108 games in the regular season last year is largely intact, with all-star closer Kimbrel the biggest loss.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is hoping to return from a knee injury that limited him to three games last season. Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart and Sandy Leon will compete for two spots at catcher. AL MVP Mookie Betts is back, as is J.D. Martinez, who finished fourth in MVP voting.

Chris Sale and David Price arrive at camp for the first time in their careers as postseason heroes.

NEW YORK YANKEES Manager: Aaron Boone (second season).

2018: 100-62, second place, wild card, lost to Boston in Division Series.

Training Town: Tampa.

Park: Steinbrenner Field.

First Workout: Feb. 14 He's Here: LHP James Paxton, RHP Adam Ottavino, INF DJ LeMahieu, SS Troy Tulowitzki, RHP Danny Farquhar.

He's Outta Here: RHP David Robertson, OF Andrew McCutchen, RHP Sonny Gray, RHP Lance Lynn, INF Neil Walker, INF Ronald Torreyes, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, LHP Justus Sheffield.

Going campin': Health is the chief concern of the Yankees, who are not likely to have SS Didi Gregorius until summer after Tommy John surgery in October.

Spring training will determine the readiness of Tulowitzki, sidelined by heel injuries since July, 2017. New York enters camp with an array of players coming off health issues: CC Sabathia (stent inserted Dec. 11 during surgery to clear a blockage in an artery from his heart, chronic right-knee arthritis), C Gary Sanchez (left shoulder surgery, Nov. 8), RF Aaron Judge (broken right wrist on July 26 that sidelined him until Sept. 14), DH/OF Giancarlo Stanton (left-hamstring tightness that hampered him the second half of last season), closer Aroldis Chapman (left-knee tendinitis bothered him nearly all season and sidelined him between Aug. 21 and Sept. 20), 1B Greg Bird (rightankle surgery, March 27, that sidelined him until May 26 and affected his entire season), OF Clint Frazier (concussion on Feb.

24 that limited him to 15 games all season) and OF Jacoby Ellsbury (missed 2018 season with various ailments and had surgery Aug. 8 to repair a labrum in his left hip).

TAMPA BAY RAYS Manager: Kevin Cash (fifth season).

2018: 90-72, third place.

Training Town: Port Charlotte, Fla.

Park: Charlotte Sports Park.

First Workout: Feb. 13.

He's Here: RHP Charlie Morton, C Mike Zunino, OF Avisail Garcia, INF Yandy Diaz, OF Guillermo Heredia, RHP Emilio Pagan.

He's Outta Here: Coaches Rocco Baldelli and Charlie Montoyo - departed to become managers of the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively - OF Mallex Smith, 1B-OF Jake Bauers, RHP Sergio Romo, 1B C.J.

Cron, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, OF Carlos Gomez, C Adam Moore, LHP Vidal Nuno.

Going campin': Expectations are high for the Rays after winning 90 games last season despite a massive roster overhaul.

Fuelled by young players, Tampa Bay went 41-25 after the all-star break, including 19-9 in September. Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell led the majors with 21 wins and posted an AL-best 1.89 ERA. He heads a projected rotation bolstered by the signing of Morton and the acquisition of RHP Tyler Glasnow in a deal that sent RHP Chris Archer to the Pirates last summer. The batting order will have a different look with the addition of Garcia and Zunino, and Cash faces some potentially tough decisions regarding the makeup of the bullpen. There are fewer questions about a solid defence, anchored by OFs Kevin Kiermaier and Tommy Pham, who hit .355 with 22 RBIs over his final 37 games after being acquired from St. Louis in a trade.

Cash also plans to continue using "openers" - relievers who start games and generally face three to nine batters. The creative use of the team's relievers was an integral part of Tampa Bay's surprising success a year ago.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS Manager: Charlie Montoyo (first season).

2018: 73-89, fourth place.

Training Town: Dunedin, Fla.

Park: Dunedin Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14.

He's Here: INF Freddy Galvis, RHP David Phelps, LHP Clayton Richard, RHP Matt Shoemaker, RHP Julian Merryweather.

He's Outta Here: Manager John Gibbons, C Russell Martin, SS Troy Tulowitzki, INF Aledmys Diaz, RHP Oliver Drake, RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Mark Leiter Jr., INF Yangervis Solarte.

Going campin': The Blue Jays are in the early stages of a rebuild centred around top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. A slugger like his Hall of Fame dad, Guerrero likely won't be promoted before mid-April - a move that will delay his free agency by a season.

Overseeing Guerrero's debut will be Montoyo, a long-time triple-A skipper who spent the past four seasons on Tampa Bay's staff, most recently as bench coach.

Montoyo is also a former Expos teammate of Vladimir Guerrero.

He replaces Gibbons, let go after consecutive losing seasons.

While the explosive Guerrero is seen as a sure thing, almost nothing else is certain about the Blue Jays. The team is likely to spend 2019 trying to establish roles for a group of young position players while seeking to acquire and develop the pieces it needs for a stronger and deeper pitching staff. Until then, no amount of slugging from Guerrero is likely to be enough for Toronto to stay in touch with the leaders in the tough AL East.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES Manager: Brandon Hyde (first season).

2018: 47-115, fifth place, worst record in majors.

Training Town: Sarasota, Fla.

Park: Ed Smith Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 13.

He's Here: RHP Nate Karns, INF Richie Martin, INF Rio Ruiz, C Jesus Sucre, INF Hanser Alberto.

He's Outta Here: Manager Buck Showalter, OF Adam Jones, INF Tim Beckham, C Caleb Joseph, DH Pedro Alvarez.

Going campin': During their worst season since moving to Baltimore in 1954, the Orioles traded Manny Machado, Zack Britton and Kevin Gausman. Then the team fired VP Dan Duquette and Showalter and started anew this off-season under GM Mike Elias and Hyde, who will oversee a complete rebuild. Elias comes from Houston, and Hyde was with the Cubs, so both know that this kind of transition requires shrewd drafting, a strong minorleague system and a whole lot of patience. Veteran sluggers Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, who performed poorly in 2018, will be surrounded by young players who must learn on the job. Elias didn't sign a major-league free agent all winter until Karns was brought in the week before camp, which leaves Hyde with the formidable task of constructing a competitive roster at spring training while teaching fundamentals to a group of inexperienced players.

Associated Graphic

Toronto fans are eager to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a Blue Jays uniform this year, and they'll probably get their wish, although he likely won't be promoted before mid-April.

JEFFREY T. BARNES/ASSOCIATED PRESS


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