ESPN running down the All-Star Game again

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ESPN is just fine with a three-hour Home Run Derby.  After all, it gets to televise the proceedings.  But the All-Star Game itself?  Well, that’s FOX’s baby and that makes it fair game for the worldwide leader.

Jerry Crasnick’s piece on all of the stars skipping the game is currently leading the big features box on ESPN.com, with Crasnick spewing lines like the following: “big names bailing by the hour for Bahamas vacations, family cookouts or orthopedic consultations.”  This comes two days after Buster Olney proposed the solution that players should decide in spring training whether to opt off the All-Star ballot.

It’s a shame, because Crasnick is better than this.  There were three healthy players across both leagues who had the chance to go to the All-Star Game and pulled out: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Aramis Ramirez.  Rivera missed time last week with a strained triceps, and while he was back pitching over the weekend, it’s hard to blame him for wanting to save his bullets.  Ramirez would have been a last-minute injury replacement, but he had already made plans for the break and decided to follow through on them.

So, really, as usual, this all boils down to Jeter.

And doesn’t Jeter deserve a free pass just this once?  This is the first time in 12 All-Star selections that he’s skipped the game.  Between all of the postseason appearances, the All-Star appearances and off-the-field obligations, Jeter has had less time off between the months of February and October than any player in baseball these last 15 years.  Let him have his little break.

Anyway…

Midsummer Mirage? All-Stars deserted this year’s Classic in droves? All-Star Game feeling snubbed?  All-Star Game getting the cold shoulder?  Players backing out of Midsummer Classic threatens showcase event for baseball?

It’s all just propaganda because ESPN would rather you watch it than FOX tonight.

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.