Questions heading into spring training

With Nick Swisher at first base, Red Sox

With Nick Swisher at first base, Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett delivers in the first inning against the Yankees, Sunday. (Aug. 8, 2010) (Credit: AP)

Some teams enter spring training with fewer troubles than others, but no club can just skate through the next seven weeks. Let's identify the biggest question that each team hopes to answer, going in reverse order from last year's best regular-season record to the worst.

Phillies: Is rookie Domonic Brown ready to take over most of the at-bats as Jayson Werth's replacement in rightfield, or will veteran Ben Francisco get the nod?

Rays: Who will close? Or perhaps the better question is, will Joe Maddon figure out any order to his completely revamped bullpen?

Yankees: Who will be the starting pitcher for the fourth and fifth games of the season (or the fourth, if CC Sabathia starts the fifth game on normal rest)?

Twins: Is closer Joe Nathan, coming off Tommy John surgery, fully ready to return?

Giants: Coming off their euphoric World Series title, do the Giants need any sort of reminder to stay hungry?

Braves: Can rookie Freddie Freeman take over the everyday job at first base?

Reds: What can they tab as areas of improvement, as their rivals come after their NL Central title?

Rangers: Can Michael Young, unhappy with management, adjust to his new role as DH-first baseman? Or if he's traded, who would fill his leadership void?

Padres: Will life after Adrian Gonzalez go smoothly?

Red Sox: Can Josh Beckett move past his disastrous 2010 and re-establish himself as a frontline starting pitcher?

White Sox: Will general manager Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen maintain their pledge to play nice?

Cardinals: Can Lance Berkman stay in one piece as he prepares to play rightfield?

Blue JaysHow will Jose Bautista, coming off his stunning 2010 season, deal with both high expectations and a new position (third base)?

Rockies: Will we see any changes from Jorge De La Rosa, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, who were given raises and/or extensions?

Tigers: Can they devise a workable formula for the fragile yet imposing setup man Joaquin Benoit?

Athletics: Will Bob Geren figure out the best way to arrange his suddenly respectable lineup?

Angels: Is Kendry Morales, who missed most of last year with a broken left leg, back to his old self?

Dodgers: How will new manager Don Mattingly get his players to ignore the ownership turbulence?

Marlins: Can Javier Vazquez regain his velocity and become a valued, veteran presence in the starting rotation?

Mets: See Dodgers; substitute "Terry Collins" for "Don Mattingly."

Brewers: Are shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and centerfielder Carlos Gomez acceptable as the team's weakest links?

Astros: Is Brett Wallace ready to be the everyday first baseman?

Cubs: Can starting pitcher Matt Garza and first baseman Carlos Peña blend into their new surroundings?

Indians: Will they give their fan base, which clocked the worst home attendance of 2010, any reason to care in 2011?

Nationals: How will the camera-shy Jayson Werth handle the increased scrutiny that comes with being a "face of the franchise"?

Royals: Does veteran Jeff Francis have anything left to contribute?

Orioles: With his honeymoon phase over, can Buck Showalter still get this group's attention?

Diamondbacks: Is J.J. Putz physically capable of serving as the team's primary closer?

Mariners: Can Milton Bradley stay mentally focused, physically together and legally out of trouble?

Pirates: Can new manager Clint Hurdle, known for his optimism, click with this downtrodden group?

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