Red Sox and Jarrod Saltalamacchia avoid arbitration for $2.5 million

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the Red Sox have avoided arbitration prior to tomorrow’s deadline for submitting figures, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.

Saltalamacchia, who earned $750,000 last season in his first year of arbitration eligibility, is in line for a bigger role with the Red Sox following the departure of Jason Varitek.

His new backup, Kelly Shoppach, is ideally suited to face strictly left-handed pitching, so a platoon situation makes sense given that the switch-hitting Saltalamacchia has been much better versus righties than lefties.

In that scenario Saltalamacchia would be in line for at least two-thirds of the starts behind the plate after starting 96 times at catcher last season. He’ll be a free agent following the 2013 season, so if Saltalamacchia thrives as the primary starter the Red Sox could look to sign him to a multi-year deal.

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.