Grapefruit League Spring Training preview: Upton brothers suit up with Braves for first time, while Yankees still have many unanswered questions


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.

Grapefruit League, Florida (date pitchers and catchers are due to report in parantheses):

Atlanta Braves (Monday, Feb. 11)
• How much impact will the Upton brothers have, now united in the Atlanta outfield?

Baltimore Orioles (Tuesday, Feb. 12)
• Can they bottle the magic of 2012 that saw them win 93 games?

Boston Red Sox (Feb. 11)
• After last season’s salary dump, trading Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, are they ready to contend for the AL East crown?

Detroit Tigers (Feb. 11)
• Will 2013 be the season they get over the hump after losing the in the World Series in 2012?

Houston Astros (Feb. 11)
• How ugly is it going to get in their new AL West home?

Miami Marlins (Feb. 11)
• Speaking of salary dumps, at least these guys will look good in their sparkling new uniforms.

Minnesota Twins (Feb. 12)
• Can Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau overcome the team's pitching deficiencies?

New York Mets (Feb. 12)
• Nothing to see here, just a rebuilding project.

New York Yankees (Feb. 12)
• With Nick Swisher and Russell Martin gone, Derek Jeter recovering from a broken ankle and an injured A-Rod, can the Yankees repeat as AL East champions?

Philadelphia Phillies (Wednesday, Feb. 13)
• Can these guys stay healthy enough to give themselves a fighting chance against the Braves and Nationals in the NL East?

Pittsburgh Pirates (Feb. 12)
• Maybe this is the year they finally finish above .500, but don’t bet anything substantial on it.

St. Louis Cardinals (Feb. 11)
• Don’t worry about Chris Carpenter; they’ll be a contender in late September.

Tampa Bay Rays (Feb. 12)
• Trying hard to suck the last two years of awesomeness out of David Price before his impending free agency.

Toronto Blue Jays (Feb. 12)
• The Canadians are praying that adding $165 million of total payroll overnight will deliver their first AL East title since 1993.

Washington Nationals (Feb. 13)
• After tasting success in 2012, can the young squad repeat its dominance of the NL East?