Indians acquire Bixler from Pirates

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Clearing a 40-man roster spot for Brendan Donnelly, the Pirates on Monday traded infielder Brian Bixler to the Indians for fellow infielder Jesus Brito.
The Pirates looked at Bixler as the most expendable player on their roster, and they had made it clear he wasn’t in their 2010 plans after they signed Bobby Crosby, giving them four veteran middle infielders on major league deals.
Bixler, 27, hit .275/.343/.439 for Triple-A Indianapolis last season. He actually had a rather remarkable major league line, as he managed to bat .227 despite striking out 26 times in 44 at-bats. He was 10-for-18 with five doubles when he put the ball in play.
Overall, Bixler has hit .178/.238/.237 in 152 at-bats as a major leaguer. He’s a below average defensive shortstop, but a pretty good second baseman. He needs to really step it up if he’s going to have a career as a utilityman. The Indians could keep him as their second baseman against left-handers if they decide Jason Donald would benefit from more Triple-A time.
Brito, primarily a third baseman, hit .353/.431/.567 in 224 at-bats between the Arizona and New York-Penn Leagues last season, but as a 21-year-old, he was quite a bit older than most of the competition he was facing. The Indians didn’t view him as one of their better infield prospects.

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.