Why are the Padres leaving Kevin Towers to dangle?

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There are rumors swirling in San Diego that GM Kevin Towers could be fired at the end of the season. Officially, new owner/CEO Jeff Moorad is being non-committal:

“We’re continuing our evaluation and assessment of multiple parts of the organization, baseball included,” Moorad said in an email. “At this point, Kevin is our general manager, and is under contract through the 2010 season.”

There’s no law that says an owner has to publicly proclaim his love for his under-contract general manager, but you’d think Moorad would be more effusive, because Towers has done a pretty good job under tough circumstances in San Diego.

Even though everything was cut to the bone due to owner John Moores’ expensive divorce, the team is better in 2009 than it was in 2008. Indeed, the Padres are 38-33 in the second half, which is a game better than the Dodgers have been.  Towers was forced to trade Jake Peavy, and despite having to deal with both a harsh no-trade clause and the fact that everyone in baseball knew he was desperate to unload him, he managed to make a great deal, getting some great young arms and unloading $53 million in salary obligations.

One never knows for sure what goes on inside a major league front office, but unless Moorad simply doesn’t like and feels he can’t work with Towers, I can’t see that firing a guy like him is anything close to a good idea. Especially when mopes like Brian Sabean are allowed to hang around.

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.