Justin Morneau officially ruled out for ALDS

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made it official just a short while ago, confirming that Justin Morneau will not be included on the ALDS roster, according to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

“He hasn’t hit live, he hasn’t dove for a ball, he hasn’t done anything
like that. If you want a formal, ‘No he won’t be on the playoff roster
for the first round,’ there’s your formal. No, he won’t.”

Not a surprising revelation, as Morneau basically said the same thing after taking batting practice Thursday. Still, he continues to make progress from a concussion that has sidelined him since July 7. Morneau worked out again this afternoon, taking some swings and fielding groundballs. Barring any setbacks, the next step would be for him to face live pitching.

“We’ll have to make that decision within whatever, the next few days,”
Gardenhire said. “He’d have to go to Florida to do that. That’s down the
road a few days here. He’s doing good.”

Gardenhire wouldn’t speculate on his status for the rest of the playoffs, but Morneau told Mackey earlier this week that he hopes to return if the Twins are able to reach the ALCS. The Twins obviously won’t count on him, hence Gardenhire’s guarded optimism here, but that the possibility is even being discussed is a very encouraging sign.

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.