Adam LaRoche calls the Diamondbacks his "first choice"

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adam laroche.jpgDuring an introductory conference call on Friday, new first baseman Adam LaRoche called the Diamondbacks his “first choice.”

‘This all came together obviously really fast,” LaRoche said. “There
were some other options out there and to be honest with you, this was
at the top of the list if we could work it out. From a contract
standpoint, this was my first choice.”

Or, um, the only reasonable offer left on the table? LaRoche pretty
much says as much, stating that that “offers started dwindling fast”
and that he heard of Arizona’s interest early in the offseason, but
didn’t hear much about them again until the past week.

LaRoche signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with a $7.5 million
mutual option for 2011. The option includes a $1.5 million buyout, so
he is guaranteed $6 million. LaRoche earned $7.05 million last season.

It’s a pretty small sample size, but the 30-year-old hasn’t had much
luck at Chase Field during his career, batting .238 with two home runs
and eight RBI in 42 at-bats. Still, he should provide a tremendous
offensive boost to a team that combined to hit just .229/.321/.398 with
19 home runs, 88 RBI and a league-worst .718 OPS out of the first base
position last season.

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.