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David Ortiz’s number to be retired on June 23

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The Boston Red Sox have announced that David Ortiz’s number 34 will be retired in a ceremony on June 23, at Fenway Park.

Ortiz’s number will be the tenth to officially be retired by the Red Sox, following Bobby Doerr (1); Joe Cronin (4); Jonny Pesky (6); Carl Yastrzemski (8); Ted Williams (9); Jim Rice (14); Wade Boggs (26); Carlton Fisk (27); Pedro Martinez (45) and Jackie Robinson (42), as all of Major League Baseball has. The Sox have a few “unofficial” retired numbers — Roger Clemens (21); Jason Varitek (33); and Tim Wakefield (49) — which have not been issued to any other players since those players left Boston.

The Sox used to have some strict rules about number retiring, doing so only for players who made the Hall of Fame, played in Boston for at least a decade and ended their career in Boston. They have made several exceptions to that rule in recent years, for good reason. Ortiz will, in all likelihood, have fulfilled even the old requirements if the Sox were to have waited for five years, but as it is, doing so now is eminently appropriate.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics