Ian Stewart is now “an afterthought” in the Rockies’ plans

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Once upon a time Ian Stewart looked like one of the Rockies’ long-term building blocks, going from 2003 first-round pick and top-ranked prospect to starting third baseman for the past three seasons.

Then he got off to a slow start this year, the Rockies demoted him to Triple-A for two months, and even now that they’ve called him back up Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post calls Stewart “an afterthought” in the team’s plans.

Stewart is mediocre at best defensively at third base and has hit just .237 with a .757 OPS for his career despite calling Coors Field home, so at age 26 he’s hardly bursting with potential. Still, the Rockies giving up on him so abruptly is surprising and Armstrong writes that the main thing keeping Stewart from being traded is his value plummeting to the point that other teams are offering marginal value in return.

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.