Juan Nicasio “making remarkable progress” in recovery from broken neck

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Troy Renck of the Denver Post has an update on Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio’s recovery from a broken neck and the news is very encouraging.

Renck writes that Nicasio “is making remarkable progress” and “has begun throwing off a mound for the first time since his injury.”

Nicasio suffered a fractured C-1 vertebrae when he was hit by a line drive on August 5, but the Rockies now seem optimistic about his chances of pitching next season with a metal plate permanently inserted into his neck.

“It’s a miracle. It really is,” general manager Dan O’Dowd told Renck. “I saw him in Arizona working out in the weight room, running and pitching. He looked just like any other player getting ready for the season.”

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.