Freddy Sanchez holding out hope for return this season

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Freddy Sanchez hasn’t played a game in the majors since June 10 of last year following shoulder and back surgeries, but he’s still hoping to help the Giants as a pinch-hitter down the stretch.

According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Sanchez is currently working out at the Giants’ complex in Scottsdale and could begin playing in instructional league games as soon as Monday.

Sanchez began this season on the disabled list following surgery last August to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The 34-year-old second baseman suffered numerous setbacks before undergoing surgery on his back on July 5 to address a nerve issue which was affecting his leg strength. Giants trainer Dave Groeschner still considers a return “highly unlikely,” but Sanchez is willing to help in any way he can.

“There’s obviously no room right now and everybody is doing great, so I realize it’s a tough situation,” Sanchez told me by phone on Friday. “Ryan Theriot, Joaquin Arias, Marco Scutaro, all those guys have been there and are playing great. Sometimes you can’t mess with that.

“But my goal was to always come back this year. If I can be a bat off the bench, or help in any way, I want to be there.”

Sanchez was a key part of the Giants’ World Series run in 2010, but he has made $18 million over the past three seasons while appearing in just 171 games.

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.