2014 Previews: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2014 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central.

The Tigers always start the season as big favorites, but always seem to go down to the last week before clinching. Same script this year? Who’s their biggest challenge this year: the Indians or the Royals? The White Sox got better, but did they get relevant? The Twins, alas, are the Twins. Anything at all to look forward to there?

Below are our team-by-team previews for the AL Central as well as our HBT Extra feature on the division:

Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day’s games (March 31). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 1:05pm ET on Opening Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Khris Davis shut down with oblique issue

Khris Davis
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Athletics designated hitter Khris Davis has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hip/oblique contusion, per a team announcement. He’ll be shut down from swinging a bat for five days, at which point he’ll undergo further evaluation. A definite timetable for his return has not been announced.

Davis initially sustained the injury after colliding with the left field wall earlier this month, and doesn’t appear to have recovered as quickly or completely as the club hoped he would by this point. Since the move is retroactive to May 22, he’ll be eligible to come off the injured list in early June, assuming all goes according to plan.

In a corresponding move, rookie outfielder Skye Bolt was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill the vacant roster spot. Without Davis in the lineup, the team will continue to utilize Mark Canha at DH, as the 30-year-old infielder is currently batting a serviceable .224/.346/.567 with seven home runs and a .913 OPS through his first 81 PA of the year.