Tony La Russa expected back with Cardinals in 2012

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Regardless of what happens in Game 7 tonight Tony La Russa is expected to return as Cardinals manager next season, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Officially both La Russa and the Cardinals must decide on their respective half of his mutual option within two weeks after the World Series ends, but Strauss expects the 67-year-old manager to announce his return within days.

Next season would be his 17th as Cardinals manager and La Russa is just 35 wins from passing John McGraw for second place on the all-time list behind Connie Mack. He’s the highest-paid manager in baseball at around $5 million and has had a winning record in 11 of the past 12 seasons.

And if the Cardinals win tonight it’ll be La Russa’s third championship.

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.