Random stuff from Bobby Cox

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The first manager sitdown just happened — Bobby Cox on one side of the room, Jim Riggleman on the other.  You won’t be surprised to hear that I went with Cox, figuring that a chance to ask questions to the guy who has shaped and lead my favorite team since I was a teenager wasn’t one to pass up.  I wasn’t alone, however, as Cox easily had three times the number of reporters around him than Riggleman did.  Random Bobby Cox stuff:

  • The Braves have thought about moving Chipper Jones to first base here and there, but they’ve had no discussions with him about it this winter and probably won’t.  Cox admits that Jones had a bad year defensively last year, but that he should have won the Gold Glove two years ago.  I guess Terry Pendleton was once a gold glover too, so at some point I suppose you have to cut off that kind of analysis.

  • Is Martin Prado your starting second baseman, Bobby? “He’s gonna start somewhere.”  Cox suggested that he could be an outfielder. Or a first baseman. I’d be shocked to see him start anywhere other than second, but I suppose the Braves still have holes and/or the need for leverage in negotiations with guys like Adam LaRoche.

  • What about the possibility of Rafael Soriano or Mike Gonzalez accepting arbitration?  “If they both accept we’ll have the best bullpen ever.”  Despite this, Bobby has no idea. He does know that no matter who’s in the bullpen next year, Billy Wagner is the closer. “He’s the closer no matter what,” Cox says.

  • Cox, in his last season as manager, wants no part of naming his successor.  He thinks any number of guys on his staff would be good, but that’s Frank Wren’s decision, says Bobby.

  • He was cagey about whether Jason Heyward would start the season on the big club.  After acknowledging that he’s probably the best prospect in baseball and has a great makeup, he would only say that “we’re going to give him a chance to win a job next year.”  I suppose you can’t just come out and admit that you’re going to keep a dude on the farm until you’re sure he’s not going to be a Super Two.

Lou Piniella is sitting down now. I’m going to go ask him why he’s been so unfair to Milton Bradley.

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.