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National League Central

Chicago Cubs (2011: 71-91, fifth place)

Ryan Dempster (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Projected Lineup
C - Geovany Soto
1B - Bryan LeHair
2B - Darwin Barney
SS - Starlin Castro
3B - Ian Stewart
LF - Alfonso Soriano
CF - Marlon Byrd
RF - David DeJesus
Rotation:
RHP - Matt Garza
RHP - Ryan Dempster
LHP - Paul Maholm
RHP - Chris Volstad
RHP - Jeff Samardzija
Bullpen Keys:
RHP - Carlos Marmol (CL)
RHP - Kerry Wood
LHP - Jeff Russell

Front Office Lead: Jed Hoyer
Manager: Dale Sveum

Key Signings/Acquisitions: LHP Paul Maholm, RHP Chris Volstad, LHP Travis Wood, 1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Ian Stewart, OF David DeJesus, LHP Trever Miller, RHP Andy Sonnanstine

Key Departures: RHP Carlos Zambrano, 3B Aramis Ramirez, 1B Carlos Pena, LHP Sean Marshall, RHP Andrew Cashner, C Koyie Hill

Notes from Camp: The Cubs begin the Theo Epstein era without former big name players Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano. The club is hoping that Bryan LaHair can translate his impressive minor league numbers in the majors while prospect Anthony Rizzo tries to put a less than stellar 2011 behind him. Manager Dale Sveum has not yet decided on the final two spots in the rotation, with Travis Wood, Rodrigo Lopez, Randy Wells and Chris Volstad the primary candidates. (Updated: March 26)

Cubs Team Page

Cincinnati Reds (2011: 79-83, third place)

Joey Votto (Rich Pilling/Getty Images)

Projected Lineup
C - Ryan Hanigan
1B - Joey Votto
2B - Brandon Phillips
SS - Zack Cozart
3B - Scott Rolen
LF - Chris Heisey
CF - Drew Stubbs
RF - Jay Bruce
Rotation:
RHP - Johnny Cueto
RHP - Mat Latos
RHP - Bronson Arroyo
RHP - Mike Leake
RHP - Homer Bailey
Bullpen Keys:
LHP - Sean Marshall (CL)
RHP - Nick Masset
LHP - Bill Bray

Front Office Lead: Walt Jocketty
Manager: Dusty Baker

Key Signings/Acquisitions: RHP Mat Latos, RHP Ryan Madson, LHP Sean Marshall, RHP Andrew Brackman, LHP Jeff Francis, OF Ryan Ludwick, INF Wilson Valdez, OF/INF Willie Harris

Key Departures: C Ramon Hernandez, RHP closer Francisco Cordero, LHP Travis Wood, RHP Edinson Volquez, LHP Dontrelle Willis, INF Yonder Alonso, OF Fred Lewis, SS Edgar Renteria, C Yasmani Grandal

Notes from Camp: The Reds are clearly thinking that the division is winnable, as they moved away a lot of young talent to acquire Mat Latos from the San Diego Padres. The Reds may send Aroldis Chapman to the minors to continue working as a starter rather than move him back to the bullpen. Ryan Hanigan is expected to split the catching duties with promising rookie Devin Mesoraco. Sean Marshall is a leading candidate to step in to replace injured closer Ryan Madsen. (Updated: March 26)

Reds Team Page

Houston Astros (2011: 56-106, sixth place)

Carlos Lee (Elsa/Getty Images)

Projected Lineup
C - Jason Castro
1B - Carlos Lee
2B - Jose Altuve
SS - Jed Lowrie
3B - Chris Johnson
LF - J.D. Martinez
CF - Jordan Schafer
RF - Brian Bogusevic
Rotation:
LHP - Wandy Rodriguez
RHP - Bud Norris
LHP - J.A. Happ
RHP - Jordan Lyles
RHP - Kyle Weiland
Bullpen Keys:
RHP - Brett Myers (CL)
RHP - Enerio Del Rosario
RHP - Wilton Lopez

Front Office Lead: Jeff Luhnow
Manager: Brad Mills

Key Signings/Acquisitions: OF Jack Cust, INF Jed Lowrie, RHP Kyle Weiland, C Chris Snyder, RHP Livan Hernandez, LHP Zach Duke

Key Departures: RHP Mark Melancon, SS Clint Barmes, LF Jason Michaels

Notes from Camp: After posting two back-to-back strong seasons, the Astros moved starter Brett Myers into the bullpen to be the closer. While Myers had that role briefly with the Phillies years ago, the pressure of carrying the starting rotation now falls squarely on Wandy Rodriguez. Lefthander Zach Duke, who spent last season with Arizona, is in competition with Kyle Weiland and Jordan Lyles for the final two spots in the rotation. (Updated: March 26)

Astros Team Page

Milwaukee Brewers (2011: 96-66, first place)

Aramis Ramirez (Rich Pilling/Getty Images)

Projected Lineup
C - Jonathan Lucroy
1B - Mat Gamel
2B - Rickie Weeks
SS - Alex Gonzalez
3B - Aramis Ramirez
LF - Ryan Braun
CF - Nyjer Morgan
RF - Corey Hart
Rotation:
RHP - Zack Greinke
RHP - Yovani Gallardo
RHP - Shaun Marcum
RHP - Randy Wolf
LHP - Chris Narveson
Bullpen Keys:
RHP - Jon Axford (CL)
RHP - Francisco Rodriguez
RHP - Kameron Loe

Front Office Lead: Doug Melvin
Manager: Ron Roenicke

Key Signings/Acquisitions: 3B Aramis Ramirez, SS Alex Gonzalez, OF Norichika Aoki, RHP Jose Veras

Key Departures: 1B Prince Fielder, INF Craig Counsell, INF Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B Casey McGehee, SS Yuniesky Betancourt, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Takashi Saito

Notes from Camp: It's been a good news/bad news start to camp for the Brewers, who are looking to return to the post-season without Prince Fielder. Ryan Bruan had his suspension overturned, but Corey Hart is expected to miss the first one or two series of the season after having surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee. Starter Shawn Marcum has been pushed back this spring due to a stiff shoulder, but is expected to be ready to start the season. (Updated: March 26)

Brewers Team Page

Pittsburgh Pirates (2011: 72-90, fourth place)

Erik Bedard (J. Meric/Getty Images)

Projected Lineup
C - Rod Barajas
1B - Garrett Jones
2B - Neil Walker
SS - Clint Barmes
3B - Pedro Alvarez
LF - Alex Presley
CF - Andrew McCutchen
RF - Jose Tabata
Rotation:
LHP - Erik Bedard
RHP - James McDonald
RHP - Kevin Correia
RHP - Jeff Karstens
RHP - Charlie Morton
Bullpen Keys:
RHP - Joel Hanrahan (CL)
RHP - Evan Meek
LHP - Tony Watson

Front Office Lead: Neal Huntington
Manager: Clint Hurdle

Key Signings/Acquisitions: LHP Erik Bedard, C Rod Barajas, SS Clint Barmes, OF Nate McLouth, 3B Casey McGehee

Key Departures: 1B Derrek Lee, OF Ryan Ludwick, LHP Paul Maholm, SS Ronny Cedeno, SS Pedro Ciriaco, C Ryan Doumit, C Chris Snyder, RHP Jose Veras

Notes from Camp: A.J. Burnett, originally thought to be out 8-12 weeks with a broken orbital bone suffered in a bunting mishap, is progressing quickly and could be ready much sooner than initially expected. The returning Nate McLouth could press Alex Presley for playing time in left field as camp continues. (Updated: March 26)

Pirates Team Page

St. Louis Cardinals (2011: 90-72, wild card)

Carlos Beltran (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Projected Lineup
C - Yadier Molina
1B - Lance Berkman
2B - Tyler Greene
SS - Rafael Furcal
3B - David Freese
LF - Matt Holliday
CF - Jon Jay
RF - Carlos Beltran
Rotation:
RHP - Chris Carpenter
RHP - Adam Wainwright
LHP - Jaime Garcia
RHP - Jake Westbrook
RHP - Kyle Lohse
Bullpen Keys:
RHP - Jason Motte (CL)
RHP - Fernando Salas
RHP - Mitchell Boggs

Front Office Lead: John Mozeliak
Manager: Mike Matheny

Key Signings/Acquisitions: OF Carlos Beltran, LHP J.C. Romero, INF Alex Cora

Key Departures: 1B Albert Pujols, RHP Edwin Jackson, INF Ryan Theriot, INF Nick Punto, C Gerald Laird, RHP Octavio Dotel, LHP Arthur Rhodes

Notes from Camp: It's a new beginning for the Cardinals, who will look to defend their World Series crown without Albert Pujols. Carlos Beltran was signed to help fill the gap, and pitcher Adam Wainwright who missed the entire 2011 season with Tommy John surgery appears to be healthy. Chris Carpenter, who is expected to be out until at least mid-May with a recurring nerve issue, will be replaced in the rotation by Lance Lynn. (Updated: March 26)

Cardinals Team Page




  • [1] Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
  • [2] Mike Trout, CF, L.A. Angels of Anaheim
  • [3] Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pittsburgh
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