Divisional preview: National League West

The National League West will be a three-team race with the Dodgers, Padres and defending World Series champion Giants. The Dodgers have a revamped lineup, but their rotation is thin. The Padres have an all-new outfield, but the defense might be shaky. The Giants are banking on a healthy lineup to make up for the loss of Pablo Sandoval, who signed with Boston. San Diego ... read more

Marlins believe they can challenge Nats for NL East supremacy

JUPITER, Fla. - In the last four seasons, the Miami Marlins have finished with 90, 93, 100 and 85 losses. Now, after a 15-win improvement last season, they're taking aim at challenging the Nationals in the National League East. "Absolutely, we think we have a chance to win the division,'' Marlins closer Steve Cishek said. "This team is playing unselfish baseball. It's a new attitude. ... read more

Answering questions about Rose's reinstatement request, rotation depth and more

Here are answers to the questions making headlines in baseball: Question: Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader who was banned 25 years ago for betting on games he managed with the Cincinnati Reds, has asked new commissioner Rob Manfred to take a look at his case with a request for reinstatement. Is there a chance? Answer: No. Bringing Rose back would be great for Rose, ... read more

Questions and answers from spring training camps

With spring training half over and three weeks until opening day, here are questions and answers regarding some of the storylines from Florida and Arizona: Question: Will the Cubs have power-hitting third base prospect Kris Bryant in the lineup when they open April 5 in Wrigley Field against St. Louis? Answer: Bryant, who hit 43 home runs at two minor league levels last season, has ... read more

Scanning the key major leaguers seeking a fully healthy 2015

As Grapefruit and Cactus league games get started, the Nationals hope that Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth can stay healthy. Also, the area's other local nine, the Orioles, needs health in Manny Machado's knees and Matt Wieters' elbow. Here's a look at other teams with similar concerns: * Wil Myers, San Diego: The all-pitch, no-hit Padres from a year ago have revamped their ... read more

Breaking down how former O's, Nats fit in with their new teams

The Nationals and Orioles are basically the same teams as last season, minus a few key players. Here's a look at players that helped the two local nines win division championships last season and how they fit into the plans of their new teams: * Nick Markakis - Signing Markakis to a $44 million contract is a good deal for a contending team that wants ... read more

A look at the new MLB rules to speed up the game

Last spring training, baseball was dealing with the new instant replay rules and the catcher/runner collisions at home plate. This spring training, baseball is emphasizing speed-up rules. The average time of game was 3 hours, 4 minutes last year. Major League Baseball would like to see that fall to 2:45. In the 1980s, the average time of game was 2:33. A 20-second pitch clock that ... read more

Stacked Nationals are atop pitching-rich National League East

The Nationals have the best rotation in baseball, but considering the way pitching is stacked in the National League East, they might need it to win a second consecutive division title. The Braves usually challenge the Nationals. But this year, the Mets and the Marlins are likely to be the Nationals' biggest headaches. The Braves rotation is strong, but not as deep as last season. ... read more