The Astros sign Ryan Rowland-Smith

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We interrupt the crazy Cliff Lee/Carl Crawford/Adrian Beltre chatter to tell you that the Astros have signed pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith. That from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Yes, we realize that this isn’t an Earth-shattering signing, but it’s nice to have a transaction that doesn’t invoke the name of large, monied east coast teams.

Rowland-Smith had a couple of good years in Seattle, working out of the pen exclusively his first year, and then transitioning into a swingman (though usually a starter).  He hit a wall last year, however, culminating in a late July start in which he allowed 11 runs to the White Sox.  After a stint on the disabled list — which some of us thought was questionable — he returned for four more games in which he was at least serviceable.

If he can return to his pre-2010 form — he had a 4.57 ERA in 362 career innings — he’ll be a cheap and useful pickup for the Astros. If not, well, he’ll still be cheap.

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.