Rays drop Game 162 hero Dan Johnson

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Dan Johnson saved Tampa Bay’s season with his homer in Game 162, but the first baseman was left off the playoff roster and yesterday the Rays outrighted him from the 40-man roster.

Johnson refused an assignment to Triple-A and is now a free agent at age 32.

Aside from the dramatic Game 162 homer against the Yankees Johnson hasn’t had much success–or much playing time, period–in the majors recently, hitting just .167 in 82 total games since 2008.

However, prior to that he a was a productive regular for the A’s and Johnson has batted .288 with 43 homers in 191 games at Triple-A between 2010 and 2011. He’d be a useful role player on quite a few teams, but Johnson will probably have to settle for a minor-league deal and try to hit his way back to the majors.

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.