AL West teams at the start of spring training


By The Associated Press



A team-by-team look at the American League West 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:

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Texas Rangers

Manager: Jeff Banister (second season).

2015: 88-74, first place, lost to Toronto in ALDS.

Training Town: Surprise, Arizona.

Park: Surprise Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 19/24.

He’s Here: RHP Tony Barnette, RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, OF Justin Ruggiano.

He’s Outta Here: OF Leonys Martin, 1B Mike Napoli, RHP Yovani Gallardo

Going campin’: The Rangers surprised most people last season by winning the AL West title after pitcher Yu Darvish had Tommy John surgery during spring training. Even more strange was the ending — Game 5 of the AL Division Series at Toronto with that nearly hour-long seventh inning that included three consecutive Texas errors before Jose Bautista’s homer and big bat flip. Still, the success in their first season under Banister — the AL Manager of the Year — has only heightened expectations going into spring training. Cole Hamels will be in the rotation from the start of the season following his midyear addition. Darvish is on track to be back by late May or early June, and the bullpen got even stronger with the addition of two more relievers with closing experience — Barnette (from Japan) and Wilhelmsen (trade from Seattle). The everyday lineup returns pretty much intact, and veteran 3B Adrian Beltre has had plenty of recovery time from left thumb surgery and the strained lower back that kept him out of two ALDS games.

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Houston Astros

Manager: A.J. Hinch (second season).

2015: 86-76, second place, wild card, lost to Kansas City in ALDS.

Training Town: Kissimmee, Florida.

Park: Osceola County Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 19/23.

He’s Here: RHP Ken Giles, RHP Doug Fister.

He’s Outta Here: 1B Chris Carter, INF Jed Lowrie, LHP Brett Oberholtzer.

Going campin’: The Astros look to contend again after their long-term rebuilding project finally came to fruition and they made the postseason for the first time since 2005. After coming six outs from a trip to the AL Championship Series — they wasted a three-run against Kansas City in their Game 4 loss and then were eliminated in Game 5 — Houston’s top priority was to boost the bullpen. The Astros added right-hander Ken Giles, who will compete to be their closer, in a trade with the Phillies. They chose not to offer a contract to slugger Chris Carter, which puts pressure on Jon Singleton to prove he can be their everyday first baseman after struggling offensively in parts of two major league seasons. Carter’s absence leaves the Astros without one of their biggest power threats — hit 90 homers in three seasons in Houston. The Astros also count on 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and AL Rookie of the Year shortstop Carlos Correa to build on their spectacular work last year.

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Los Angeles Angels

Manager: Mike Scioscia (17th season).

2015: 85-77, third place.

Training Town: Tempe, Arizona.

Park: Tempe Diablo Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 19/24.

He’s Here: 3B Yunel Escobar, SS Andrelton Simmons, RHP Al Alburquerque, OF Craig Gentry, C Geovany Soto, OF Daniel Nava, INF Gregorio Petit, INF Cliff Pennington.

He’s Outta Here: SS Erick Aybar, 3B David Freese, OF David Murphy, C Chris Iannetta, RHP Trevor Gott, INF Grant Green, OF Matt Joyce, OF David DeJesus, OF Shane Victorino.

Going campin’: The Angels finished one game out of a playoff position last season, but owner Arte Moreno and new general manager Billy Eppler decided not to push their payroll into luxury tax territory with any game-changing additions. Los Angeles didn’t fill its gaping hole in left field with an elite free agent, instead patching it with veterans Craig Gentry and Daniel Nava. The Angels also switched half of their infield, obtained glove whiz shortstop Andrelton Simmons from Atlanta and third baseman Yunel Escobar from Washington. With little help expected from one of the majors’ worst farm systems, the Angels will continue to rely on Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and 36-year-old Albert Pujols, who probably won’t be ready for opening day after surgery on his right foot. Their fairly deep rotation is still headed by Garrett Richards but features nobody else who won more than nine games last season, including declining ace Jered Weaver. The Angels appear to be hoping that better luck with largely the same players will get Trout into position for the first playoff victory of his big league career.

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Seattle Mariners

Manager: Scott Servais (first season).

2015: 76-86, fourth place.

Training Town: Peoria, Arizona.

Park: Peoria Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 20/25.

He’s Here: C Chris Iannetta, C Steve Clevenger, 1B Adam Lind, 1B Dae-Ho Lee, OF Nori Aoki, OF Leonys Martin, RHP Joaquin Benoit, RHP Steve Cishek, RHP Ryan Cook, RHP Justin De Fratus, RHP Nathan Karns, LHP Wade Miley, RHP Evan Scribner, RHP Joe Wieland.

He’s Outta Here: 1B Logan Morrison, SS Brad Miller, OF Austin Jackson, DH Mark Trumbo, OF Dustin Ackley, LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Carson Smith, LHP Roenis Elias, LHP Joe Beimel.

Going campin’: No team in the major leagues underwent a bigger offseason makeover than the Mariners, from the front office to the coaching staff to the majority of the projected 25-man roster. Most of the position battles are settled heading into spring training with the main questions backup utility player, the right-handed complement to Adam Lind at first base and how exactly the rotation among five players in the outfield breaks down. The pitching staff will be the focus of attention during spring training, both in the bullpen and rotation. Most of Seattle’s bullpen plans fall in place if Steve Cishek can lock down the closer role, but the pitchers serving as the bridge to the eighth and ninth innings will be the battle to watch. In the rotation, the No. 5 spot is sought by right-hander Nathan Karns and lefties James Paxton, Vidal Nuno and Mike Montgomery.

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Oakland Athletics

Manager: Bob Melvin (sixth season).

2015: 68-94, fifth place.

Training Town: Mesa, Arizona.

Park: Hohokam Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 21/26.

He’s Here: INF Jed Lowrie, LHP Rich Hill, RHP Ryan Madson, LHP Marc Rzepczynski, RHP John Axford, RHP Liam Hendriks, 1B Yonder Alonso, RHP Henderson Alvarez,

He’s Outta Here: 3B Brett Lawrie, RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Fernando Abad, LHP Drew Pomeranz, LHP/RHP Pat Venditte, RHP Evan Scribner, 1B Ike Davis, 1B Nate Freiman, OF Craig Gentry, LHP Barry Zito.

Going campin’: Oakland’s run of three straight playoff berths ended with a disappointing last-place finish as Billy Beane’s bold moves to trade Yoenis Cespedes midway through 2014 and future MVP Josh Donaldson last offseason backfired. The A’s led the majors with 126 errors last season and had one of the worst bullpens in the league. The 4.56 ERA for the relievers ranked last in the AL and the 25 blown saves were second worst. That led to a 19-35 record in one-run games, the most one-run losses in the majors. The return of Lowrie after a year in Houston should help the infield defense, and Axford, Madson, Rzepczynski and Hendriks should fortify the bullpen. The rotation remains a question behind ace Sonny Gray. Hill went from independent ball to the majors and used a 1.55 ERA in four September starts to get a deal with Oakland and a spot in the rotation. Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman are coming off injuries, and Sean Nolin and Chris Bassitt are also in the mix. A wild card could be RHP Jarrod Parker, who has not pitched in the majors since 2013 because of injuries.

By The Associated Press

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