Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times reports that Matt Kemp checked into camp at 215 pounds. Last year he was at 230.
After Pablo Sandoval, I think that Kemp’s weight may be the most significant conditioning story of spring training. No, not because he was fat like Sandoval or anything. But because I don’t think anyone suffered more last season from the perception that he was dogging it or lackadaisical or unfocused or whatever than Kemp did. His defense and base running suffered in 2010. That could be because of mental issues, but it might also have been because of physical ones. And no matter what the cause was, people were all OVER him for it.
If it was a mental block or something else altogether we’ll probably know once the season gets going. But by coming into camp slimmed down like he has, Kemp will at least buy himself a little more goodwill before anyone jumps on his case.
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.
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.