Yankees-Red Sox: not as big a deal as it usually is

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Yankees Red Sox rivalry.jpgHow often do the Yankees face the Red Sox and have the mere fact of the matchup not be the biggest thing going that week?  That’s certainly the case this week as, at least by my reckoning, the two-game tilt with the Sox ranks third or maybe fourth on the Bronx Bombers’ hype-o-meter.  Above it:

  • Coming to grips with the Mariano Meltdown yesterday.  Like I said earlier today, I think Mo will be just fine — we all have bad days at work sometimes — but you can bet that the team will be asked many more questions about yesterday’s aberration before tonight’s game than they will about the Red Sox;
  • The Rays series. The Yankees took two of three from the Rays back in the first week of the season, but that was before we all got our minds around how good the Rays are.  Two games against the team you’re trailing in the standings > two games against a scuffling Red Sox squad, and that’s the case no matter how much lip service the Yankees pay the Sox today and tomorrow;
  • The Subway Series kicks off this weekend with three games at Citi Field.  Maybe the players are above it all, but the press and the fans in New York are probably wondering if the Yankees can deliver a knockout blow to the Jerry Manuel era with a decisive series. That is, if Manuel even survives the week.

So yes, Yankees-Red Sox is a big deal and, usual ESPN-bashing notwithstanding, it is probably the best matchup going tonight and thus worthy of the national broadcast (that is, unless San Francisco and San Diego want to move their game to 4:05 PM Pacific Time). 

But it ain’t the kind of big news it usually is, and probably isn’t even the biggest thing on the Yankees’ mind this week.

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.