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An early peek at top rookies, biggest surpises and worst messes

Orioles lefty Zach Britton is the best of the rookie pitchers playing key roles among teams in the American League East, but if April is any indication, Britton's biggest competition for the AL's Rookie of the Year award is going to come from the Mariners' Michael Pineda. Like Britton, Pineda, 21, wasn't expected to be in the majors so soon. Britton is in the big

Expanded playoffs in 2012? No way!

During a meeting with reporters in New York this week, Commissioner Bud Selig said that baseball is considering expanded playoffs for 2012, meaning 10 teams, instead of eight, will be vying for the World Series. The format is undetermined, but the two wild card teams in each league will likely play a one-game playoff or a three-game series to advance. Can't baseball learn from the

One final case of Manny being Manny

Manny Ramirez is one of the best right-handed hitters in history, but that's not how he's going to be remembered. Manny should be putting the finishing touches on a Hall of Fame career, but he's never going to have a plaque in Cooperstown. Ramirez has retired from the Rays after it was reported that Major League Baseball was suspending him for 100 games for violating

Thoughts and observations about the early days of the season

The Yankees need inconsistent pitcher A.J. Burnett to be consistent, and so far, thanks to an improved changeup, Burnett has won his first two starts. Also, catcher Russell Martin has made a good impression. No need to worry about the slow starts of Orioles first baseman Derrek Lee, or his Nationals counterpart, Adam LaRoche. Each is making good contact. Lee, hitting. 182 after being out

Examining key questions in the American League East

Over the winter, the Rays, defending American League East champions, saw their roster dismantled. The Yankees were rejected by Cliff Lee and struggled for pitching. The Red Sox reloaded with speed and defense. The Orioles have legitimate buzz and the Blue Jays keep getting better. The Orioles open this evening in Tampa Bay, so let's take a look at some of the questions surrounding the

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