A food safety manager at Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums in Kansas City says he was fired after complaining about dirty conditions. Jon Costa shared with ESPN’s ”Outside the Lines” a letter that he said came from his former employer, Aramark. ESPN says Costa’s complaints prompted a Nov. 3 inspection that found violations at 20 out of 26 food stands. The stadiums later passed a follow-up inspection.

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The Detroit Tigers had barely finished celebrating a fourth straight division title last year when they were dispatched from the playoffs by Baltimore in a Division Series sweep. Then Kansas City – the team the Tigers fought so hard to hold off in the AL Central – rolled to the AL pennant and came within a game of winning the World Series. It was enough to turn the Tigers into October afterthoughts for the first time in a while, and now it’s fair to wonder whether Detroit’s best chance to claim baseball’s ultimate prize with its current core of stars has already come and gone. This is a team that has an opportunity to win a World Series.” The Tigers edged Kansas City by one game in the division last year in Ausmus’ first season as manager, and their 90-72 record was similar enough to their previous work during this run of postseason appearances, but a three-game sweep at the hands of the Orioles snapped Detroit’s streak of three straight trips to the AL Championship Series.

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For the first time in 17 years, the Baltimore Orioles open a new baseball season as defending AL East champions. The Orioles can only hope for better results than in 1998, when they followed a wire-to-wire run to the division crown with a 79-83 flop – launching a franchise-record run of 14 straight losing seasons. Although Baltimore lost slugger Nelson Cruz, Gold Glove right fielder Nick Markakis and setup man Andrew Miller from a club that last year went 96-66 and advanced to the AL Championship Series, manager Buck Showalter has no intention of disappointing a fan base that has embraced a team coming off its second playoff appearance in three seasons. I want to keep going forward.” Baltimore made only one significant offseason acquisition, picking up outfielder Travis Snider in a trade with Pittsburgh.

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When Yu Darvish pitched only one inning this spring before season-ending elbow surgery, the Texas Rangers were already off to an ominous start. The Rangers lost their ace even before what they are still hoping will be a comeback season. The aching result for the Rangers was the American League’s worst record (67-95) and their most losses since 1985, ending an impressive four-year run of 90-win seasons with their only two World Series appearances (2010-11). As for the top of the rotation without him, the January trade to get local pitcher Yovani Gallardo proved even more important.

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The San Francisco Giants lost Pablo Sandoval to big money and the Boston Red Sox. They missed out paying big money to left-hander Jon Lester, who instead signed with the Chicago Cubs. While the reigning World Series champions are ready to shed that every-other-year title trend, plenty of people wonder whether general manager Brian Sabean and his staff did enough during the offseason to stay near the top in the talented NL West. Ask manager Bruce Bochy and his players, and they consider the additions of healthy right-hander Matt Cain and center fielder Angel Pagan back into the mix as a big deal right up there with signing a prized free agent.

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A look at what’s happening around spring training in Florida and Arizona today: — TOUGH JAW Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is set to start against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. READY TO GO Adam Wainwright will make his second spring start when St. Louis hosts Henderson Alvarez and the Marlins in Jupiter, Florida.

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Carlos Rodon struck out nine in four dazzling innings Wednesday night, making his latest impressive bid to join the White Sox rotation, and Chicago cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Rodon has fanned 19 batters this spring, tying for the Cactus League lead, in 12 1-3 innings. ”That’s the best part of the day.” The left-hander faced a lineup that included eight regular starters for the AL champion Royals, no doubt making it difficult for Chicago to send him back to the minors. It’s been different because you’re used to watching these guys on TV and then you get used to them stepping in the box finally and it’s just another game.” Avisail Garcia, J.B. Shuck and Keon Barnum homered for the White Sox.

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SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Yordano Ventura has been picked to pitch on opening day for the AL champion Kansas City Royals against the Chicago White Sox.

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With opening day approaching, the Big League Stew crew is here to get you up to speed on the season ahead. We’re examining each division over the next two weeks, looking at the big questions, the important players and making our predictions. Our series continues in the AL East.

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Madison Bumgarner allowed only one hit, an Albert Pujols home run, over six innings, but the Los Angeles Angels rallied Sunday for a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Matt Duffy and Justin Maxwell each had a homer against Angels’ starter C.J. Wilson, who allowed three hits over 4 1/3 innings, walked four and struck out two. ”My mechanics are good and my delivery is positive but there’s no correlation to location just yet.” C.J. Cron doubled home a run and Efren Navarro hit an RBI single against Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt in the top of the eighth. ”I know what those guys can do and I’m 100 percent comfortable with them out there.” Drew Rucinski pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out five, to earn the win for the Angels.

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