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AL Central Notes: Martinez progressing, Walters’ versatility

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AL Central Notes takes a look throughout the FanSided network on a daily basis for articles on the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox.

This season, many believe, myself included, that the AL Central will be the best or at least the closest division in all of Major League Baseball. There is no doubt the division is much improved, and it will be interesting to watch, for sure.

That bring us to the reigning champions of the division for the past four seasons, the Detroit Tigers.

Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) at bat against the Baltimore Orioles during game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

• Detroit Tigers: Motor City Bengals
Victor Martinez progressing, takes BP (VIDEO): By Matt Pelc

"“Martinez hit from both sides of the plate and received pitches thrown by Tigers’ legend, now special assistant, Alan Trammell. He took Tram yard twice. One of the balls that left the park struck the scoreboard.”"

All teams in the AL Central better be careful not to take Martinez lightly this season, even if he’s recovering from this injury. Being that he is the best designated hitter in not only the AL Central, but most likely the entire American League, if the Tigers are able to have Martinez back by the time Opening Day arrives or even in April, he’ll give the Tigers the early edge as the best team in the Central.

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Next, let’s take a look at the reigning American League champion, Kansas City Royals, and see what they are up to lately.

• Kansas City Royals: Kings of Kauffman
How Omar Infante‘s Health Could Affect the Royals’ Bullpen: By Hunter Samuels

"“Infante was banged up for all of 2014, with various ailments causing him to look nothing like the player he was in 2013. Those injuries followed him into the new year, and his nagging elbow forced him to receive a cortisone shot over the weekend.”"

Infante is one of the best second basemen in the division, and this is a unique way to look at the Royals’ roster if he were to start the season on the disabled list. His injury would most likely cause a domino effect on their roster, but this is an interesting take for those who are Royals fans and for those who like to keep up with all of the teams in the AL Central.

Now it is time to take a look at a team that many think will be very tough contenders in the AL Central this season, the Cleveland Indians.

Mar 8, 2015; Surprise, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Zach Walters (6) swings against the Texas Rangers during to a spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

• Cleveland Indians: Wahoo’s on First
Cleveland Indians: Zach Walters showing versatility early: By Joe Gerberry

"“Walters can be a weapon if used correctly. He has played all over the diamond, coming over as a shortstop from Washington, but has played second and at both corner outfield spots for Cleveland last year, as well as some third base this spring. He has been preparing for a “super duper utility” role with the team, h/t to Jordan Bastian.”"

If you compare Walters to a player on the White Sox, he would be like Emilio Bonifacio, who will be the White Sox super utility man, since he can be used basically anywhere in the infield and outfield, except for catcher and pitcher.

Speaking of the Chicago White Sox ….

• Chicago White Sox: Southside Showdown

Jeff Samardzija vs. Jose Quintana: Who starts Opening Day?: By James Poellnitz

"“Who steps in place to make the team’s first start of the regular season: Jeff Samardzija or Jose Quintana?”"

This is a very good and valid question to ask, and most likely one that the White Sox will have to answer, as it looks like Chris Sale will miss Opening Day.

Last on the list for today are the Minnesota Twins.

Sep 14, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Glen Perkins (15) delivers against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

• Minnesota Twins: Puckett’s Pond
Glen Perkins On The Shelf For Twins: by Ted Schwerzler

"“At this point, the Twins are calling the injury nothing more than a mild strain to his right side. While that seems like a relatively minute issue, Perkins was held out of action today due to the malady. Minnesota will be hoping that his body rebounds quickly.”"

This isn’t good news for the Twins, as Perkins is a player they will need late in games if they want to be competitive in the division. If he’s not available in the late innings when they have a lead, it could be another tough season for the Twins.

Next: White Sox: Winning begins with leadership

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