Originally written on Fantasy Baseball Tools  |  Last updated 3/21/12

The big news this week in the American League Central today was Kansas City closer Joakim Soria being forced to leave his game today with elbow soreness. Soria has struggled this spring with an 18.90 ERA with seven runs allowed in 3 1/3 innings. If he is out of action for an extended period of time, the Royals have several options to turn to at closer. Jonathan Broxton has closing experience but had struggled the last two seasons and is working his way back from elbow surgery in September. He just took the hill this past week and worked two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. A second option is Greg Holland who had picked up four saves to go with his 18 holds in 2011. Holland posted a 1.80 ERA and .93 WHIP with 74 strikeouts in 60 innings.

Chicago White Sox – outfielder Dayan Viciedo who the team was hoping would grab one of the two open outfield spots has been struggling this spring with a .143 batting average and 10 strikeouts in 28 at bats. Outfielder Alejandro De Aza has been slowly moving up ADP charts as he seems locked in as the other outfielder and is slated to hit first in the batting order which should mean a boost to his runs scored total. In the bid for the closer role, Matt Thornton has worked three scoreless innings so far, while Jesse Crain has given up two runs in three innings. Prospect Addison Reed has allowed one earned run in 4 1/3 innings but is currently a distant third in the battle for now.

Cleveland Indians - Russ Canzler has started to make some noise in the competition for the left field job as he tries to gain ground on Shelley Duncan. Canzler is batting .393 with two RBI in 28 at bats and a stolen base. Canzler, who was the International League MVP at Triple-A last season, was picked up from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash back in January. He hit .314 at Durham with 18 home runs, 83 RBI and five steals. He is really limited to the outfield or designated hitter, despite being listed at third base in most leagues, because of his lack of fielding. Duncan meanwhile is batting .238 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 21 at bats and is a decent source of power late in AL-only formats.

Detroit Tigers – the 5th starter spot is now open with prospect Jacob Turner shut down with a dead arm. The leading contenders to fill that role are Andy Oliver, who has worked nine scoreless innings with six strikeouts) and prospect Drew Smyly, who has allowed one run in eight innings with seven punch outs. Smyly was the Tigers second round pick in the 2010 Amateur Draft and pitched at two minor league levels last season, finishing with seven starts at AA.

Kansas City Royals – manager Ned Yost seems to have a man-crush on Yuniesky Betancourt who is being tried at second base and is now in close competition with both  Johnny Giavotella and Chris Getz at second base. Giavotella was looking like a deep sleeper in mixed leagues given the fact there was talk he might hit second in the order, but not could be looking at more time back at AAA if Betancourt is awarded the job. Giavotella is batting .242 with four RBI and a stolen base, while Getz is hitting .333 with two steals and Betancourt is batting .250 with a home run.

Minnesota Twins - second basemen Alexi Casilla is off to a good start this spring with a .357 batting average and three stolen bases in 28 at bats. The key with him is health; if he can get 400+ at bats, he should provide 20+ steals. Denard Span is also off to a great start in spring training with a .417 batting average and three stolen bases in 24 at bats. It is good to see that he has attempted five stolen bases already after only seven attempts in 284 at bats in 2011 during the regular season.

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