AL East Notes: John Lackey, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

As spring training continues to get under way, the contenders and non-contenders in the American League East are preparing for what will surely be a grueling, competitive season.

There was a time when the American League East was the clear champion of all divisions in baseball. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox had grown to be equals. The Toronto Blue Jays were constantly playing .500 ball. The Tampa Bay Rays even went to a World Series. Between 2000-2008, the AL East had six representatives in the World Series and three winners. That's about as dominant as one division can be. Here are your AL East news and notes:

  • John Lackey is feeling great. According to Gordon Edes of the ESPN Boston, Lackey says he feels no pain in his elbow. Lackey has been sidelined since the end of the 2011 season after suffering a torn UCL. He underwent Tommy John surgery in November of 2011. Although he has been the source of numerous trade rumors, the Red Sox seem intent on keeping the 34-year old righty.
  • Derek Jeter did not travel with the Yankees for their spring game in Orlando today. However, he did participate in running drills for the first time since he fractured his ankle last October. An Associated Press report says Jeter has picked up the pace on his drills and has now included running. Previously, Jeter had been hitting and fielding only.
  • Former Mets' outfielder Mike Cameron had some words of advice for the Yankees as they move Curtis Granderson to left field and slide Brett Gardner in center. He warned that the team should be careful. Cameron and Carlos Beltran had one of the more frightening collisions in the outfield in the season after the Mets asked Cameron to move to left field. The problem with moving a center fielder out of his natural role is the fact that he will often play the game the same from a different position. That's exactly what happened when Cameron and Beltran dove for that ball back in 2005 and collided on the outfield grass.

The Orioles and the Blue Jays will be faced with two completely different tasks this season. The Orioles will have to prove their 2012 success was not a fluke. The Blue Jays will have to prove all the money they spent and moves they made were the right ones. As for the Rays, Tampa simply needs to have a better offensive year, and Joe Maddon knows this.

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