Matt Stairs set to become a Padre

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that 41-year-old outfielder Matt
Stairs has agreed to a minor league contract with the Padres.  From Jerry’s Twitter account, a must-follow for any baseball fan:

“[Padres GM] Jed Hoyer was
very aggressive in trying to bring Matt into a young team to have a
veteran presence,” said Stairs’ agent, Bob Garber.

Stairs will serve as a left-handed pinch-hitter for the Friars this season if he’s able to land a roster spot during spring training.  He hit just .194/.357/.379 last season in a similar capacity with the Phillies, but he’s dropped over 30 pounds this winter and claims to be in the best shape of his life.  We shall see.

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.