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Burning Questions


 

The vacation is almost over for the players, but the fun in the sun is just about to begin for baseball fans. Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training next week and Cactus and Grapefruit League action is just around the corner. But first, Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci poses the key questions for each team.

AL EAST

New York Yankees: Which starting pitcher gets skipped in a three-game division series sweep, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Orlando Hernandez or Mike Mussina? Will the production of Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez and Paul O'Neill slip again, and if so, is this their final year in the Bronx? Has Rudy Giuliani announced the date for the parade yet?

Boston Red Sox: Can anybody in Boston's open casting call for starting pitchers support Pedro Martinez with a 15-win season? Will Nomar Garciaparra, with Manny Ramirez behind him, take a run at .400? Will new hitting coach Rick Down revive Jose Offerman, Jason Varitek, Troy O'Leary and Trot Nixon ?

Toronto Blue Jays: Can the Blue Jays finish ahead of the Yankees and Red Sox with Mike Sirotka at the top of their rotation? Is Shannon Stewart an All-Star this year? Do people in Toronto still care about this team?

Baltimore Orioles: Can Ryan Kohlmeier stabilize what has been an awful bullpen? Can Albert Belle play through the pain in his arthritic hip? Will attendance fall again at Camden Yards?

Tampa Bay Devil Rays: How much does Vinny Castilla have left in his gas tank? Can this team get any bang from the bucks it sunk into Wilson Alvarez and Juan Guzman? Ditching the colors was a start, but can we get rid of the stadium, call it a mulligan and start over?



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