Pujols returns to lineup two days after injection

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Albert Pujols has rejoined the Cardinals’ lineup this afternoon, batting third and playing first base, just two days after receiving an anti-inflammatory shot in his sore lower back.
Pujols has been limited by back problems for much of spring training, sitting out most of last week and being a last-minute scratch from several different lineups, but an MRI exam Monday apparently showed nothing major.
That the Cardinals are willing to let him get right back into game action so quickly when resting him for another day or two in the middle of spring training wouldn’t impact much of anything suggests that they aren’t very worried. Hopefully he can avoid tweaking the injury again before Opening Day arrives.

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.