Tabata, Lincoln debut for the Pirates

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brad lincoln and jose tabata pirates.JPGThe Pirates had a front row seat to the debut of the Nationals savior on Tuesday, but last night it was Pittsburgh’s turn, with Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata taking their opening bows.

Lincoln had much promise when he was drafted, but one Tommy John surgery and a few years later he’s a 25 year-old rookie who doesn’t project to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Not that being a middle-of-the-rotation guy is not valuable, of course. You gotta have those types of guys too, so he could definitely be a key part of the next good Pirates team.  As for his performance: He have up five earned runs on seven hits over six innings, striking out three and walking two. Meh, sure, but as we noted all over the place yesterday, baseball history is rotten with good pitchers who had less-than-stellar debuts.

As Aaron mentioned yesterday, Tabata has suffered a similar decline in his stock, but at age 21 he still has a lot of time to become a major contributor. His night was better: he went 2 for 4 out of the leadoff spot with two singles, a walk and a stolen base. Only downer: he had to leave the game in the eighth when his hammy started to cramp up.

The next big glimpse into the Pirates future: Pedro Alvarez.  He’s raking down at Indianapolis — he had three hits and two RBIs yesterday and leads the team with 12 homers and 50 RBIs — and I would expect that the Pirates will call him up sometime soon.

It may not feel like it sometimes, but there’s hope in Pittsburgh.

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.