Cactus League preview: Rangers move on without Hamilton, Giants begin pursuit of third World Series title in four years


The most exhilarating organized stretching and long toss practice of the season took place Monday afternoon, officially marking the unofficial start to the 2013 baseball season. While it didn’t take place for every team in Major League Baseball, the battery mates got the ball rolling yesterday, with a flood of more pitchers and catchers set to report. In honor of one of the single greatest days of the year, here is the reporting date for each team followed by a single sentence that summarizes each team’s 2013 campaign

Cactus League, Arizona (date pitchers and catchers due to report in parantheses):

Arizona Diamondbacks (Monday, Feb. 11)
• Did trading Justin Upton really help this team?

Chicago Cubs (Feb. 10)
• Still the Chicago Cubs, the Curse of the Billy Goat goes on for another year.

Chicago White Sox (Feb. 11)
• Can the young rotation, led by Chris Sale, lead the Sox into the postseason?

Cincinnati Reds (Feb. 11)
• The experimental move of Aroldis Champan to the rotation should be fascinating to watch.

Cleveland Indians (Feb. 10)
• The Tribe faithful are hoping Terry Francona and a new outfield, including Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, can pay dividends.

Colorado Rockies (Feb. 10)
• Carlos González will waste another year of his career playing in the mountains.

Kansas City Royals (Feb. 11)
• Royals fans everywhere are going to be enamored since the team appears to finally be out of their two-decade-long rebuilding mode and into a win-now mode after their trade to acquire James Shields.

Los Angeles Angels (Feb. 11)
• Does the addition of Josh Hamilton make this team the favorite to win the American League?

Los Angeles Dodgers (Feb. 12)
• With a 123 percent increase in salary since last July, they better win something or they’ll be a laughing stock.

Milwaukee Brewers (Feb. 12)
• Ryan Braun and the Brewers faithful pray the latest performance enhancing drug scandal doesn’t turn into anything serious, or 2013 could be a nightmare.

Oakland A’s (Feb. 11)
• Surely the extremely young pitching staff can’t lead the team to another AL West crown, can they?

San Diego Padres (Feb. 12)
• At least they play in an absolutely beautiful ballpark.

San Francisco Giants: (Feb. 12)
• Defending World Series champions brought the whole band back together to make another run. Can they win three out of four titles?

Seattle Mariners: (Feb. 12)
• Improved, but most fans will only tune in one out of every five days to watch King Felix work his magic.

Texas Rangers: (Feb. 12)
• Does the loss of Josh Hamilton remove this team from the list of World Series competitors?