Sean McAdam: Previewing the A.L. West

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Sean McAdam: Previewing the A.L. West

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

For most of the last decade, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ruled the West, winning the World Series in 2002, the division title six times and going to the ALCS as recently as 2009.

But no more. Texas beat out the Angels last year and after a winter in which the Angels struggled to find someone -- anyone! -- to take their money, the case could be made that they're now the third-best team in the division.

Under new ownership, the Rangers have demonstrated a willingness to spend like the big-market team they are. Meanwhile, if the A's ever get a new ballpark, they, too, could become more of a force. As it is, their pitching staff should keep them in contention.

(IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER):

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

ONE THING THAT MUST HAPPEN: The offense must get better - and quickly. The Angels scored 202 fewer runs last year than they did before. Overpriced though he may be, Vernon Wells will help, and so, too, will the return of first baseman Kendry Morales, who missed the last four months with a broken leg.

ONE THING THAT CAN'T HAPPEN: The two high-priced trade acquisitions in the last two years -- Scott Kazmir and Dan Haren -- can't underperform. The Angels have too much money (almost 25 million this year alone) to have that happen again.

BIGGEST ADDITION: OF Vernon Wells
BIGGEST SUBTRACTION: C Mike Napoli
ROOKIE TO WATCH: C Hank Conger

Oakland A's

ONE THING THAT MUST HAPPEN: The additions made in the off-season (David DeJesus, Josh Willingham and Hideki Matsui) must support the pitching staff better. The A's were second-to-last in homers in the A.L. and hit just .241 with runners in scoring position.

ONE THING THAT CAN'T HAPPEN: The young starters can't regress. The A's rotation is talented but still relatively inexperienced. Only Dallas Braden will begin the season older than 25.

BIGGEST ADDITION: OF David DeJesus
BIGGEST SUBTRACTION: DH Jack Cust
ROOKIE TO WATCH: OF Michael Taylor

Seattle Mariners

ONE THING THAT MUST HAPPEN: New manager Eric Wedge must gain control of the club. The team was full of turmoil last year, with naps in the clubhouse and fistfights in the dugout. That can't continue if the Mariners are to improve.

ONE THING THAT CAN'T HAPPEN: Felix Hernandez can't struggle for runs the way he did a season ago when his teammates scored seven runs in his 12 losses. Another frustrating year like that could do damage to Hernandez's psyche.

BIGGEST ADDITION: C Miguel Olivo
BIGGEST SUBTRACTION: INF Jose Lopez
ROOKIE TO WATCH: 2B Dustin Ackley.

Texas Rangers

ONE THING THAT MUST HAPPEN: Someone must step up and help fill the void left by the departure of Cliff Lee. Maybe Tommy Hunter will mature, or Neftali Feliz will transition from the bullpen or maybe the Rangers will get a comeback season from Brandon Webb.

ONE THING THAT CAN'T HAPPEN: The Rangers can't battle injuries like they did a year ago. Ian Kinsler and MVP Josh Hamilton must stay on the field and in the lineup if the Rangers are going to repeat as division champs.

BIGGEST ADDITION: 3B Adrian Beltre
BIGGEST SUBTRACTION: LHP Cliff Lee
ROOKIE TO WATCH: RHP Tanner Scheppers

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Sandoval raps out two hits, lifts average to .333, in Red Sox' 5-4 loss to Yankees

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Sandoval raps out two hits, lifts average to .333, in Red Sox' 5-4 loss to Yankees

With each passing day, Pablo Sandoval's winning over more and more skeptics.

The slimmed-down third baseman rapped out two hits, including a double, and drove in a run as he lifted his spring average to .333 in the Red Sox' 5-4 loss to a split squad of Yankees Tuesday at JetBlue Park. Sandoval went 2-for-3 overall -- his one out was a fly to the warning track -- and looked almost speedy as he raced home from second on an RBI single by Deven Marrero.

BOX SCORE: Yankees 5, Red Sox 4

It was a day for comeback players on both teams. Sam Travis, whose 2016 was cut short by a knee injury suffered at Triple-A Pawtucket, hit a solo home run for the Sox, who fell to 1-4 with the loss.  Greg Bird, who missed all of last year because of a shoulder injury, hit a pair of home runs and drove in three runs for the Yankees.

Marrero, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo, Matt Dominguez and Dan Butler each had one hit for the Red Sox. Starter Kyle Kendrick allowed three hits and two runs over three innings, retiring eight of the last nine batters he faced. Only one of the subsequent six relievers -- Robbie Ross Jr. -- figures to be in Boston in the regular season, and he pitched a hitless, scoreless fourth with one walk.

Vegas projects Red Sox, Indians for most wins in AL

Vegas projects Red Sox, Indians for most wins in AL

Wanna bet the Red Sox will have the most wins in the American League this season? 

Per Bovada, the Sox are projected for 92.5 wins in 2017, which is tied with the Indians for the highest total in the AL. Boston and Cleveland both sit behind the defending World Series champion Cubs (95.5) and Dodgers (93.5) in Bovada’s win projections. 

Here is the full list: 

Chicago Cubs: 95.5
Los Angeles Dodgers: 93.5
Boston Red Sox: 92.5
Cleveland Indians: 92.5
Washington Nationals: 90.5
Houston Astros: 89.5
New York Mets: 88.5
San Francisco Giants: 87.5
Seattle Mariners: 85.5
St. Louis Cardinals: 84.5
Texas Rangers: 84.5
Toronto Blue Jays: 84.5
Detroit Tigers: 82.5
New York Yankees: 82.5
Pittsburgh Pirates: 82.5
Baltimore Orioles: 80.5
Colorado Rockies: 80.5
Los Angeles Angels: 79.5
Arizona Diamondbacks: 77.5
Tampa Bay Rays: 77.5
Kansas City Royals: 76.5
Miami Marlins: 765
Minnesota Twins: 74.5
Atlanta Braves: 73.5
Oakland Athletics: 73.5
Philadelphia Phillies: 73.5
Cincinnati Reds: 70.5
Chicago White Sox: 69.5
Milwaukee Brewers: 69.5
San Diego Padres: 66.5