Phil Hughes on track to begin throwing program Thursday

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While Phil Hughes is still a long way from pitching with the Yankees again, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports that he’s tentatively scheduled to begin a throwing program Thursday.

Hughes was placed on the disabled list last month after posting a 13.94 ERA over his first three starts while showing significantly diminished velocity with his fastball. He underwent a battery of tests to rule out any serious injury — including thoracic outlet syndrome — but said Monday that his shoulder has responded well to a recent cortisone shot.

“I’m confident. I know it just didn’t just disappear,” Hughes said of his fastball velocity. “…. I’m confident it will be there.”

It’s just baby steps right now, as Hughes will likely start by throwing off flat ground and simply progress from there. The Yankees are hopeful that the 24-year-old right-hander will be able to return in six to eight weeks.

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.