Jeff Keppinger aiming for Friday return to Astros

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Jeff Keppinger has yet to play this season after undergoing foot surgery in January, but Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that the veteran infielder is slated to come off the disabled list Friday.

Keppinger has spent the past couple weeks rehabbing in the minors, going 14-for-44 (.318) with one homer and just one strikeout in 11 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

Keppinger ranked fourth on the Astros with 575 plate appearances last season, supplanting Kaz Matsui as the starting second baseman while hitting .288 with a .351 on-base percentage and .393 slugging percentage.

Bill Hall has struggled as Houston’s primary second baseman, so Keppinger has a good chance to become a starter again immediately.

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.