American League Central

April 03, 2005|By Previews by South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Chicago White Sox

Record, finish: 83-79, 2nd.

Manager: Ozzie Guillen, 2nd season with Sox.

Payroll: $76 million.

Hot seat: Jermaine Dye. Steps into the void left by the departure of Magglio Ordonez.

Best case: Scott Podsednik and Tadahito Iguchi transform a previously station-to-station lineup. ... Adding Dustin Hermanson to an already-solid bullpen makes it a bigger team strength. ... Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez settle into the rotation under Guillen's Latin-tinged influence. ... Good guys again wear black.

Worst case: Frank Thomas' ankle keeps him out for most of the first half of the season. ... A.J. Pierzynski shows why the Giants cut him loose without getting anything in return. ... Juan Uribe keeps slugging but fails to get on base enough. ... Anything happens to Mark Buehrle or Freddy Garcia at the top of the rotation. ... The rest of the league figures out Shingo Takatsu's slow stuff.

LINEUP

LF Scott Podsednik

2B Tadahito Iguchi

DH Carl Everett

1B Paul Konerko

RF Jermaine Dye

CF Aaron Rowand

C A.J. Pierzynski

3B Joe Crede

SS Juan Uribe

ROTATION

LHP Mark Buehrle

RHP Freddy Garcia

RHP Jose Contreras

RHP Orlando Hernandez

RHP Jon Garland

BULLPEN

RHP Shingo Takatsu

LHP Damaso Marte

RHP Dustin Hermanson

Cleveland Indians

Record, finish: 80-82, 3rd.

Manager: Eric Wedge, 3rd season with Indians.

Payroll: $45 million.

Hot seat: Jhonny Peralta. Replacing perennial Gold Glove winner Omar Vizquel.

Best case: Aaron Boone shows he's healthy after that basketball nightmare a year ago. ... A deep, young lineup featuring Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner and Casey Blake keeps getting better with the addition of Grady Sizemore. ... A slimmer C.C. Sabathia wins more than 13 games for the first time since his 2001 debut and Jake Westbrook continues to progress after an All-Star season. ... Ownership proves willing to spend if the team is in the race.

Worst case: Juan Gonzalez's strained right hamstring doesn't enable him to return soon. ... Kevin Millwood shows why nobody was willing to give him more than a one-year contract. ... Bob Wickman's smoke-and-mirror jig is finally up. ... It's still not quite Next Year for rebuilding Tribe.

LINEUP

LF Coco Crisp

3B Aaron Boone

DH Travis Hafner

C Victor Martinez

CF Grady Sizemore

1B Ben Broussard

RF Casey Blake

2B Ronnie Belliard

SS Jhonny Peralta

ROTATION

LHP C.C. Sabathia

RHP Jake Westbrook

RHP Kevin Millwood

LHP Cliff Lee

RHP Scott Elarton

BULLPEN

RHP Bob Wickman

LHP Arthur Rhodes

RHP Rafael Betancourt

Detroit Tigers

Record, finish: 72-90, 4th.

Manager: Alan Trammell, 3rd season with Tigers.

Payroll: $72 million.

Hot seat: Magglio Ordonez. Fat contract includes out clause if his knee breaks down again.

Best case: Jeremy Bonderman and Wil Ledezma develop into two of the game's top young starters. ... Troy Percival and Ugueth Urbina give them a top bullpen combination. ... Dmitri Young bounces back with a big season after missing two months in 2004 with a broken leg. ... Carlos Pena starts off as hot as he finished last season. ... A deeper lineup and continued improvement help them contend for a division title all year.

Worst case: Even with an improved offense, there's still not enough starting pitching. ... Ivan Rodriguez's loss of 25 pounds robs him of his power stroke. ... Mediocrity proves difficult to escape. ... Jason Johnson's 7.13 ERA in his last 11 starts is a harbinger of things to come.

LINEUP

3B Brandon Inge

SS Carlos Guillen

C Ivan Rodriguez

RF Magglio Ordonez

DH Dmitri Young

1B Carlos Pena

LF Rondell White

CF Craig Monroe

2B Omar Infante

ROTATION

RHP Jason Johnson

LHP Mike Maroth

RHP Jeremy Bonderman

LHP Nate Robertson

LHP Wil Ledezma

BULLPEN

RHP Troy Percival

RHP Ugueth Urbina

RHP Kyle Farnsworth

Kansas City Royals

Record, finish: 58-104, 5th.

Manager: Tony Pena, 4th season with Royals.

Payroll: $39 million.

Hot seat: Angel Berroa. His on-base percentage plus slugging percentage dropped 96 points after a dazzling rookie season.

Best case: David DeJesus improves quickly and softens last season's loss of star Carlos Beltran. ... Mike Sweeney takes 500 at-bats for the first time in four years and drives in 100 for the first time in five years. ... Zack Greinke, 21, continues to develop as a Greg Maddux-style pitcher. ... Grit and youthful desire overcome the team's lack of talent.

Worst case: Health woes again affect the rotation, especially Runelvys Hernandez. ... The staff posts an ERA above 5.00 for the seventh time in the past eight years. ... A lineup filled with bench types and part-time players can't do its part. ... A lack of proven talent lets them sink into record-setting oblivion.

LINEUP

CF David DeJesus

LF Terrence Long

1B Mike Sweeney

RF Matt Stairs

DH Calvin Pickering

SS Angel Berroa

3B Mark Teahen

2B Ruben Gotay

C John Buck

ROTATION

RHP Jose Lima

RHP Zack Greinke

RHP Runelvys Hernandez

LHP Brian Anderson

RHP Denny Bautista

BULLPEN

LHP Jeremy Affeldt

RHP Mike MacDougal

RHP Nate Field

Minnesota Twins

Record, finish: 92-70, 1st.

Manager: Ron Gardenhire, 4th season with Twins.

Payroll: $58 million.

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