No surprise: Rafael Soriano won’t opt out of Yankees contract

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Rafael Soriano’s contract with the Yankees allows him to opt out after this season, but coming off a mediocre, injury marred campaign there’s little chance of that happening and Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York talked to a source who confirmed Soriano will be staying put.

Soriano followed a poor start with a disabled list stint for elbow problems, but was much more like his usual self upon returning with a 3.33 ERA and 26/7 K/BB ratio in 33 innings during the final two months.

However, the two years and $25 million remaining on his contract is significantly more than Soriano could get on the open market this offseason. He’ll earn $11 million in 2012 and $14 million in 2014 as part of a deal general manager Brian Cashman had pushed on him by ownership.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.