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Continued: Chart: Previewing the AL Central

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  • Last update: March 28, 2013 - 11:22 PM

Why they won’t: With Pierzynski gone, the jury is out with Tyler Flowers at catcher. Keppinger replaces Youkilis at third base. Paul Konerko remains a force, but other hitters in the lineup are boom or bust, including Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham.

CLEVELAND INDIANS

2012: 68-94 (24-53 after All-Star break)

Who’s gone: Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, Roberto Hernandez, Jack Hannahan, Shelley Duncan.

Who’s new: Terry Francona (manager), Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Mike Aviles, Trevor Bauer, Scott Kazmir, Brett Myers, Bryan Shaw, Drew Stubbs.

Why they’ll contend: They reshuffled the deck after another brutal second half last year. It wasn’t former manager Manny Acta’s fault, but the Indians landed a proven winner in Francona. Ownership re-established its commitment by signing Swisher for $56 million and Bourn for $48 million. And the back end of the bullpen is solid, led by All-Star closer Chris Perez.

Why they won’t: The starting rotation has too many question marks. If Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson are on their game, look out. But that’s a big if, especially for Jimenez, who’s been a huge disappointment since 2010.

TWINS

2012: 66-96 (30-47 after All-Star break)

Who’s gone: Scott Baker, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Carl Pavano, Matt Capps.

Who’s new: Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia.

Why they’ll contend: The last time the Twins entered a season with expectations this low was 2008, their first year without Johan Santana and Torii Hunter. Expected favorites Detroit and Cleveland flopped, and the Twins wound up losing a Game 163 tiebreaker to the White Sox 1-0. The Twins have had two straight seasons derailed by injuries, so better health would be a boost.

Why they won’t: Their pitching staff pales in comparison to Detroit’s and Chicago’s. Worley, Pelfrey and Correia might stabilize things after last year’s debacle, but they are not high-end talents. And the lineup has too many question marks — second base, third base, shortstop, center field, right field — to imagine it coming together at once.







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  • Worley: He’s an improvement.

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Washington - D. Fister 12:10 PM
NY Mets - D. Gee
Philadelphia - S. Gonzalez 12:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
Toronto - D. Hutchison 12:10 PM
Cleveland - T. Bauer
Cincinnati - J. Cueto 12:35 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Tampa Bay - N. Karns 12:35 PM
Baltimore - W. Chen
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Minnesota - M. Pelfrey
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