Daisuke Matsuzaka is in the best shape of his life

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The Sox weren’t happy with Dice-K’s conditioning last year, but his offseason was good enough that I feel comfortable giving him the official BSOHL seal of approval:

The righthander arrived here
Thursday and worked out at the team complex the last two days. After a
winter that included several sessions at the Athletes’ Performance
training center in Arizona, Matsuzaka appears to be in better condition
than last season.

“He worked hard this winter, that’s evident,” general manager Theo Epstein said. “He has lost weight.”

Nice to hear he’s in shape, but the real questions surround his pride and candor. His struggles last year may have had a basis in a lack of conditioning, but they were exacerbated by his failure to disclose his injuries — a groin pull, mostly — and by allowing the Red Sox to pitch him when he wasn’t healthy. That led to ineffectiveness and shoulder problems.

Even guys who are in good shape get hurt. Hopefully Matsuzaka will let everyone know about it if it happens again.

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.