Phillies don’t expect Ryan Howard back before July

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There’s been a lot more secrecy than firm timetables when it comes to Ryan Howard’s recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon, but today Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. finally offered some news on the first baseman’s status.

Asked by Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com if Howard would be able to return at some point in July, the GM replied: “I don’t believe so. I don’t think so.”

Then, when asked if Howard would return before the All-Star break in mid-July, he said: “I don’t know.”

You know, just in case the Roy Halladay news wasn’t enough to ruin Phillies fans’ week.

Howard tore his Achilles’ tendon making the final out of the Phillies’ season in October and initially there was some hope that he’d be back in the lineup in May, but an infection ruined those plans and slowed his rehab timetable considerably. Seven months later he’s still building up strength in his atrophied calf.

Howard is in the first season of a five-year, $125 million contract extension.

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.