Twins avoid arbitration with Casilla via one-year, $865K deal

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From SI.com’s Jon Heyman comes word that the Twins have reached agreement on a one-year, $865,000 contract with infielder Alexi Casilla, avoiding the need for an arbitration hearing.

The 26-year-old was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter after racking up enough service time in 2010.

He sat idle for the first two months last year because of an elbow issue then hit .276/.331/.395  with one home run and 20 RBI in 152 at-bats once he regained his health.

Casilla has served mostly as a utility infielder for Minnesota since first breaking into the league back in 2006.  With J.J. Hardy out of the picture, the Twins are going to ask him to start at shortstop in 2011.  Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a new acquisition out of Japan, will start at second base.

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.