Indians may give rookie Brantley a shot in left

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Michael Brantley made his big-league debut last September filling in for the injured Grady Sizemore in center field, but now that Sizemore is healthy the Indians are thinking about starting Brantley alongside him in left field.
Here’s manager Manny Acta:

What he did in September gives him a leg up on the position. That being said, we all know he’s 22 and we’re still not going to be handing out jobs because we all have to do what’s best for the Indians and for the kid himself.

His primary competition? Scrap-heap veterans Austin Kearns and Shelley Duncan, plus lesser prospects Trevor Crowe and Jordan Brown. In other words, if the Indians are open to Brantley being ready for the majors at age 23 his odds of claiming the gig–or at least two-thirds of the gig, in a lefty-righty platoon with Kearns or Duncan–are pretty strong.
And if Brantley fares well right away his presence will likely result in Sizemore moving from the leadoff spot to the middle of the order, because Brantley is a low-power speedster with a .387 on-base percentage and more walks than strikeouts in the minors. Baseball Think Factory projects Brantley to hit .282/.348/.360 as a rookie, while the Rotoworld Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide has him at .267/.337/.344.

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.