Home Run Derby participants announced; Fielder calls on Weeks

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Both David Ortiz and Prince Fielder called on teammates to help them out in next Monday’s Home Run Derby.  In Fielder’s case, though, it’ll be Rickie Weeks, not Ryan Braun, trying to aid the cause.

With Braun saying he wasn’t interested, it will be Fiedler, Weeks, Matt Kemp and Matt Holliday for the NL squad.  The AL will be represented by Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano.

Mark Teixeira turned down the spot that went to Cano.

Holliday got the nod over Lance Berkman, a three-time participant who is currently tied for the NL lead in homers with Kemp.  They have 22 apiece, one more than Fielder.  Weeks has 15, while Holliday has a modest 10 in 61 games.

Besides Berkman, overlooked for the team was Jay Bruce, who ranks fourth in the league with 18 homers, and young slugger Mike Stanton.  Stanton wasn’t scheduled to go to Phoenix, but Marlins teammate and All-Star Gaby Sanchez lobbied for him anyway.

The AL foursome has 74 homers to the NL’s 68 this season.  Bautista leads the majors with 27 homers.  However, none of the other five American Leaguers with at least 20 homers (Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Paul Konerko, Mark Reynolds and Nelson Cruz) made the cut.  Ortiz has 17 homers, Gonzalez 16 and Cano 14.

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.