The Oakland Athletics know that few will give them a chance to repeat in a division featuring sluggers Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout making up a loaded lineup for the Los Angeles Angels.
Even with almost the same A's roster that pulled off an improbable late-season rally to stun the Texas Rangers on the season's final day last fall.
No problem. They're plenty used to being overlooked in the East Bay, already second fiddle to the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
Yet the A's showed last October there's something special happening in Oakland, in spite of a roster once made up of little-known players built with the lowest payroll in baseball. Despite a run-down, often-empty ballpark they share with the NFL's Raiders.
''This year is a little bit easier in the fact we have a lot of guys that have played together,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ''Last year in camp we were trying to get guys just to know each other. It's a group that showed last year that they get a...