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Red Sox, Pirates and Royals might have staying power, other things we learned in April

The first month of the season is coming to a close, and here are things we can take away from April: * There's no need to panic when a team goes bad for a week. Last week, the Nats were struggling and on the verge of falling into a big hole in the NL East. But they won three weekend games against the Reds, and

Boo birds show up at Nationals Park for Cards' Kozma, other notes

Pete Kozma, the Cardinals' shortstop who delivered a knockout blow to the Nationals in Game 5 of their Division Series in October, returned to a chorus of booing Monday night at Nationals Park. Afterward, he said getting booed was a first. Given what he did against the Nationals last season, including a key two-run single in the Cardinals' 9-7 comeback win in Game 5 of

Injuries send teams scrambling with mixed results

Teams are scrambling as a slew of big-name players wind up on the disabled list. The Blue Jays lost shortstop Jose Reyes with an injury to his left ankle, and the Dodgers will be without pitcher Zack Greinke because of a broken collarbone suffered in a fight with the Padres' Carlos Quentin. The Angels are without pitcher Jered Weaver because of a broken left elbow.

Red Sox better than most thought, Samardzija an underrated ace

Lessons learned from the season's first week: * The Red Sox are going to be better than most thought. Lefty Jon Lester is back on track. The always-shifting defense, which some times has third baseman Will Middlebrooks playing in short right field, has been an improvement. Shortstop Juan Iglesias, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and catcher David Ross are important ingredients in the Red Sox's run

First impressions on Darvish's near perfection, Hicks' tough start, Harper's blasts and more

The first two days of the season are complete. Here are some first impressions: * Yu Darvish's perfect game was broken up with two outs in the ninth in the Rangers' 7-0 win in Houston on Tuesday night. It brought back memories of April 4, 2001, when the Red Sox's Hideo Nomo, who, like Darvish is from Japan, threw a no-hitter versus the Orioles at

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