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AL West

By Times Staff
Published April 3, 2005


Los Angeles Angels

2004: 92-70, 1st.

MANAGER: Mike Scioscia.

PAYROLL: $93-million.

KEY ADDITIONS: CF Steve Finley, SS Orlando Cabrera, RHP Esteban Yan, RHP Paul Byrd, OF Juan Rivera.

KEY LOSSES: OF Jose Guillen, RHP Troy Percival, 3B Troy Glaus, SS David Eckstein, RHP Aaron Sele, RHP Ramon Ortiz.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

1B Darin Erstad

2B Chone Figgins

RF Vladimir Guerrero

LF Garret Anderson

CF Steve Finley

3B Robb Quinlan

SS Orlando Cabrera

DH Jeff DaVanon

C Bengie Molina

ROTATION: RHP Bartolo Colon, LHP Jarrod Washburn, RHP John Lackey, RHP Kelvim Escobar, RHP Paul Byrd.

CLOSER: RHP Francisco Rodriguez.

BOTTOM LINE: After tying for last season's league lead with a .282 average, the lineup led by MVP Guerrero should again be one of the AL's most potent. ... Rodriguez leads a strong bullpen that did not lose a step despite the loss of Percival. ... Dallas McPherson was a rookie of the year candidate but will start the season in the minors after losing time this spring to a bulging back disc. ... Do you think Los Angeles really will celebrate a division title?

Texas Rangers

2004: 89-73, 3rd.

MANAGER: Buck Showalter.

PAYROLL: $50-million.

KEY ADDITIONS: RF Richard Hidalgo, 1B/DH Greg Colbrunn, INF Mark DeRosa, C Sandy Alomar Jr., RHP Pedro Astacio.

KEY LOSSES: RF Brian Jordan, DH Herbert Perry, OF-INF Eric Young, 1B/DH Brad Fullmer, RHP Jay Powell, RHP Jeff Nelson.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

2B Alfonso Soriano

3B Hank Blalock

SS Michael Young

1B Mark Teixeira

RF Richard Hidalgo

LF Kevin Mench

DH David Dellucci

CF Laynce Nix

C Rod Barajas

ROTATION: LHP Kenny Rogers, RHP Ryan Drese, RHP Chan Ho Park, RHP Pedro Astacio, RHP Chris Young.

CLOSER: RHP Francisco Cordero.

BOTTOM LINE: At 39, can Rogers repeat a season in which he had career highs of 18 wins and 35 starts and a staff-high 211 innings? ... The infield is stellar, though Soriano is still having problems with a sore left hamstring. ... Expect offense but don't expect the bullpen to repeat last season's heroics, so the Rangers will fall short.

Oakland Athletics

2004: 91-71, 2nd.

MANAGER: Ken Macha.

PAYROLL: $59-million.

KEY ADDITIONS: C Jason Kendall, RHP Dan Haren, RHP Kiko Calero, RHP Juan Cruz, OF Charles Thomas, LHP Dan Meyer, RHP Keiichi Yabu, 2B-3B Keith Ginter, RHP Seth Etherton.

KEY LOSSES: RHP Tim Hudson, LHP Mark Mulder, RF Jermaine Dye, LHP Mark Redman, LHP Arthur Rhodes, C Damian Miller, RHP Jim Mecir, LHP Chris Hammond, INF Mark McLemore.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

CF Mark Kotsay

C Jason Kendall

DH Erubiel Durazo

3B Eric Chavez

LF Eric Byrnes

1B Scott Hatteberg

SS Bobby Crosby

RF Nick Swisher

2B Mark Ellis or Keith Ginter

ROTATION: LHP Barry Zito, RHP Rich Harden, RHP Dan Haren, RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Seth Etherton.

CLOSER: RHP Octavio Dotel.

BOTTOM LINE: Haren and Blanton have six wins between them, and all are from Haren. ... Still, the A's have weathered well the recent free-agent losses of Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Johnny Damon and Jason Isringhausen, and Kendall is a big upgrade at catcher. But the losses of Mulder and Hudson will be too much to overcome.

Seattle Mariners

2004: 63-99, 4th.

MANAGER: Mike Hargrove.

PAYROLL: $95-million.

KEY ADDITIONS: 3B Adrian Beltre, 1B Richie Sexson, SS Pokey Reese, RHP Aaron Sele, RHP Jeff Nelson.

KEY LOSSES: DH Edgar Martinez, INF-OF Jolbert Cabrera, OF Hiram Bocachica.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

RF Ichiro Suzuki

CF Jeremy Reed

3B Adrian Beltre

1B Richie Sexson

2B Bret Boone

DH Raul Ibanez

LF Randy Winn

C Miguel Olivo

SS Pokey Reese

ROTATION: LHP Jamie Moyer, RHP Gil Meche, LHP Bobby Madritsch, RHP Aaron Sele, RHP Joel Pineiro

CLOSER: LHP Eddie Guardado.

BOTTOM LINE: The $114-million spent on Sexson and Beltre should help a team that was last in the league last season with 698 runs. ... Can Pineiro (shoulder) and Guardado (hamstring) get and stay healthy? ... Hargrove will keep the team more focused and Ichiro is Ichiro. Seattle will be better, but it's the first step in a long climb.#