Justin Maxwell out 4-6 months following Tommy John surgery

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For obvious reasons position players typically come back from Tommy John elbow surgery far more quickly than pitchers, but Nationals outfielder Justin Maxwell is still expected to be out of action for 4-6 months after undergoing the operation.

Byron Kerr of MASNSports.com reports that Maxwell injured his elbow while making a diving catch in the second-to-last game of the season and went under the knife two weeks ago.

Maxwell told Kerr that he hopes to be back on the field in some capacity as soon as February, but realistically there’s a strong chance he’ll begin next season on the disabled list. At age 27 his career was already at a crossroads thanks to hitting .201 with 83 strikeouts in 219 at-bats for the Nationals, including a .144 batting average in 67 games this season.

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.