Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a story about how the Pirates are going to emphasize offseason conditioning for their players this year. In linking it, Buster Olney makes a good point that, while probably obvious, isn’t something we hear too much about over the winter:
You’ll be hearing this kind of thing more and more; teams are becoming increasingly active in insisting and ensuring that their players show up to spring training in shape, to improve the chances that they get proper return for their financial investment.
Good point. The very fact that we have “best shape of his life stories” are because it’s not necessarily the case that guys actually, you know, keep in shape over the winter. Most do, but based on the kinds of stories you hear about heading into spring training, one gets the sense that there is room for improvement and that those who do improve will realize some small advantage because of it.
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.
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.