UPDATE: Nathan headed for MRI on elbow

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Joe Nathan headshot.jpgUPDATE: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Nathan is headed back to the Twin Cities to have an MRI on the elbow.

SATURDAY, 3:12pm: Luckily the Twins are saying it was only for “precautionary reasons,” but closer Joe Nathan was removed from Saturday’s game against the Red Sox due to some elbow tightness.

He faced three batters and threw 20 pitches in the third inning before being greeted by pitching coach Rick Anderson and assistant trainer Dave Preumer. As you’ll recall, Nathan underwent surgery in October to remove two bone spurs and bone chips from his right elbow. Here’s what he told Kelly Thesier of MLB.com:

“[There was] some tightness, achiness. We didn’t want to push through
anything,” Nathan said of his elbow. “I think it’s more being careful
than anything right now. [We are] taking things slow because we still
have a lot of time.”

Nathan said he will be reevaluated on Sunday, but did not want to “come to any assumptions” whether he’d be fine or not. It’s finger-crossing time in Minnesota. You wouldn’t know it by all the attention Mariano Rivera gets, but Nathan has a 1.87 ERA and 0.93 WHIP since joining the Twins in 2004.
 

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.