Join the Yankees Universe . . . now only $19.95!

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The Red Sox may have a nation, but the Yankees have a whole universe:

The New York Yankees today announced the creation of Yankees
Universe, an official fan club granting members exclusive benefits,
unique access and special savings. Membership privileges extend to all
aspects of the fan experience, including exclusive Web site advantages,
outstanding discounts on official Yankees Clubhouse merchandise, and
Fast Track entrance perks on game day, all for only $19.95 for a
membership valid through the end of the year. Fans may sign up for the
club on MLB.com or Yankees.com . . .

. . . “A membership to Yankees Universe gives fans the chance to
experience a world of new and unique team essentials,” said Christy
Lee, Director of Yankees Fan Club. “We are proud to offer Yankees
Universe to the best fans in the world.”

I like how they went straight to eleven with this one. I mean, how easy
would it have been to try to compete with the Sox by going with
“Yankees Nation” or to even trump them with “Yankees World” or “Yankees
Galaxy?” “Screw that,” they said. “We’re going straight to the
universe! Let them top that!”

Let’s see . . . the Yankees are (a) trying to instantly replicate
something that, in other instances takes decades to cultivate; and (b)
they’re charging for the privilege. How very . . . Yankees of them.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.