Ian Stewart has been Colorado’s starting third baseman since mid-2008, turned 26 years old earlier this month, and has more than 1,300 career plate appearances in the majors, but today the Rockies demoted him to Triple-A following a 2-for-26 start.
Stewart missed time during spring training with knee and hamstring injuries and started just five of Colorado’s first 16 games, but he’s presumably healthy given that the Rockies could have instead placed him on the disabled list and sent him out on a minor-league rehab assignment.
What makes the move doubly odd is that Stewart has been replaced at third base with Jose Lopez, who’s hitting just .188 with a .537 OPS in 13 games and was absolutely awful for the Mariners last season. Another option at third base, Ty Wigginton, is hitting .200 with a .539 OPS.
Stewart has plenty of flaws, but demoting him to the minors due to a slow start in sporadic playing time when he has 1,300 plate appearances of track record to go on and the alternatives aren’t any better seems awfully strange.
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.