Tony La Russa returns to Cardinals after six-game absence

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UPDATE: As expected, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Tony La Russa has rejoined the Cardinals and will manage tonight’s game.

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Drew wrote yesterday about how Tony La Russa is feeling better after leaving the Cardinals to have his shingles treated and now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that La Russa ” is expected to return to the dugout for tonight’s series opener against the Phillies.”

La Russa has missed six games while being examined at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, but general manager John Mozeliak told Strauss that the manager could be cleared to return today: “The condition isn’t going to progress. It’s more about what Tony can tolerate.”

Strauss writes that La Russa has been in constant contact with fill-in manager Joe Pettini and felt good enough to tape radio and television shows yesterday. In his absence the Cardinals are 2-4, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reds.

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.