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Weakest links (cont.)

Posted: Thursday January 25, 2007 12:10PM; Updated: Thursday January 25, 2007 10:27PM
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American League

The Indians need more out of shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who had a miserable season in 2006.
The Indians need more out of shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who had a miserable season in 2006.
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• The Yankees, after the top three, have a rocky rotation (pre-Clemens). And that platoon at first is iffy. The good news: Jason Giambi won't be putting on a glove.

• The Blue Jays have a large hole at shortstop, where John McDonald (.218 as a SS in '06) and Royce Clayton (ugh!) will slug it out in spring -- well, kind of.

• The Red Sox have a big question mark at second base, but the gap that looms largest is at the back end of the bullpen. Keith Foulke, where have you gone?

• The Orioles are solid in a lot of places but not very stellar in most. Kevin Millar's a great guy, but he's not who you want to start at first base after hitting only 15 homers in '06.

• The Devil Rays are always slapping a Band-Aid someplace. This year his name is Ben Zobrist, a green shortstop with little power and an awful lot to prove.

• The Twins found a way to plug the left side of the infield last season. Finding power from Rondell White, or stability behind ace Johan Santana? Not so easy.

• The Tigers, top to bottom, are the most solid team around. Stronger than '06. No holes. Really. As long as Sean Casey stays healthy at first, they'll be tough.

• The White Sox had a big problem in '06 in center field. It's still a problem. Somebody -- Brian Anderson or Darin Erstad -- had better fix it, or the Sox are in trouble.

• The Indians used to think Jhonny Peralta was their shortstop of the future. Now he's got no glove, no range, a wimpy bat and a lot of doubters in Cleveland.

• The Royals always have a ton of questions. Honestly, Odalis Perez as a No. 2? But first base, where Ryan Shealy and Ross Gload will battle, is really up in the air.

• The A's have a hole in left field with Jay Payton moving on, but the biggest mystery is whether beat-up shortstop Bobby Crosby can stay healthy for once.

• The Angels have people who can play the infield corners -- but who? Casey Kotchmann, Chone Figgins, Shea Hillenbrand, Dallas McPherson, Maicer Izturis, Ferris Bueller. Bueller? Bueller?

• The Rangers' infield is formidable, but that outfield? Texas has a lot of moving pieces, and if Nelson Cruz doesn't perform in right field, he'll be moved but quick.

• The Mariners' lineup is set, if not particularly strong. But the million-dollar question in Seattle is this: Can a slimmer Felix Hernandez be King once again?

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