Indians to honor Jim Thome with statue

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There was some bitterness when Jim Thome bolted for Philadelphia following the 2002 season, but it hasn’t taken long for him to be embraced in his second act with Cleveland.

According to the Associated Press, the Indians announced plans before tonight’s game to honor Thome by erecting a bronze statue of his likeness in Heritage Park beyond the wall in center field. The statue will depict Thome doing his trademark bat point.

Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that the statue will be in the same area where his 511-foot home run landed on July 3, 1999, which is the longest home run in the history of the ballpark.

Too soon for a Thome statue? Maybe. Others (Larry Doby, hello?) who are also deserving? You bet. But including his two-run blast in the bottom of the third inning tonight — the 604th home run of his career — the 41-year-old slugger holds the Indians’ franchise record with 337 home runs.

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.