The Braves snap the skid behind Hanson, Heyward

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Tommy Hanson 2.jpgThe Braves snapped their nine-game losing streak behind a two-run homer from Jason Heyward in the third and eight strong innings from Tommy Hanson.  But Heyward and Hanson are good and we knew that. The real relief is that Nate McLouth hit a homer, establishing that, contrary to all previous indications, he was not spending the year dead for tax purposes.

Hanson allowed two runs on four hits and struck out seven.  He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in
each of his first five starts and has a 2.17 ERA. This was his longest outing of the year, however, and it was nice to see him going after batters.

Heyward was robbed of another homer by Hunter Pence. Amazing play, the video of which you can see here.  After the catch Heyward tipped his batting helmet to the Astros’ right fielder.

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.