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MLB: NL Central teams at the start of spring training


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He’s Outta Here: RHP A.J. Burnett, RF Marlon Byrd, 1B Justin Morneau, 1B-OF Garrett Jones, C Michael McKenry, OF Felix Pie, RHP Kyle Farnsworth.

Going campin’: The franchise’s first playoff berth in 21 years did little to change Pittsburgh’s typically economical approach to free agency. The only major addition came in the form of Volquez, and the Pirates will try to turn him into the 2014 version of Francisco Liriano. Pittsburgh grabbed Liriano on the cheap last winter and he ended up winning 16 games and earning a handful of Cy Young votes. The rest of the signees were depth-related. The loss of Burnett will hurt, though the top of the rotation should be solid behind Liriano and Gerrit Cole, who was remarkable during his rookie season. Volquez is in the mix for the fifth spot, while the bullpen should look much the same as it did last season when Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli provided one of the best setup-closer combinations in baseball. The only real question marks as camp begins remain the ones Pittsburgh faced when last season ended: first base and right field. Gaby Sanchez and Andrew Lambo will likely platoon at first, while Jose Tabata and Travis Snider get one last shot to earn a big league spot in right as highly touted Gregory Polanco gets some needed seasoning with Triple-A Indianapolis. Polanco and former first-round pick Jameson Taillon — who could join the rotation sometime in 2014 — will start camp with the big league club and provide a glimpse of why Pittsburgh decided to double down on its thriving minor league system rather than open up the checkbook for free agents.

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Cincinnati Reds

Manager: Bryan Price (first season).

2013: 90-72, third place, lost wild-card game to Pirates.

Training Town: Goodyear, Ariz.

Park: Goodyear Ballpark.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He’s Here: 2B-OF Skip Schumaker, C Brayan Pena.


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He’s Outta Here: Manager Dusty Baker, CF Shin-Soo Choo, RHP Bronson Arroyo, C Ryan Hanigan.

Going campin’: The Reds made very few additions to their roster, which had a few notable losses. Arroyo left as a free agent, costing the rotation a dependable, 200-inning starter. Choo was one of the majors’ top leadoff hitters last season, but wanted a big, multiyear deal. And Hanigan was part of a three-team trade that brought the Reds a prospect and opened the way for Devin Mesoraco to become the everyday catcher. LHP Tony Cingrani will move into Arroyo’s spot. Touted speedster Billy Hamilton takes over Choo’s spot at the top of the order despite his lack of experience at the major league level and newness to playing the outfield. The Reds are counting on LF Ryan Ludwick — their cleanup hitter — to be fully recovered from a shoulder injury that wiped out more than half of his season last year. The Reds have made the playoffs in three of the last four years, but failed to get past the opening round each time. They elevated Price, their pitching coach, in hopes that a change at the top trickles down in the postseason.

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Milwaukee Brewers

Manager: Ron Roenicke (fourth season).

2013: 74-88, fourth place.

Training Town: Maryvale, Ariz.

Park: Maryvale Baseball Park.

First Workout: Feb. 17/22.

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