Tigers shift Gene Lamont to bench coach

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After seven seasons as the Tigers’ third base coach Gene Lamont is shifting to bench coach for 2013, with manager Jim Leyland stressing that the move wasn’t performance-based.

Leyland called Lamont “as good as any third base coach in the American League without question” and “a great baseball mind who will be there with me on the bench.”

As a 65-year-old former manager sitting alongside Leyland on the bench certainly seems like a more natural role for Lamont. Tom Brookens will shift from first base coach to third base coach and Rafael Belliard will go from infield coach to first base coach.

John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press notes that in most cases bench coach is considered a promotion from third base coach, although Leyland had gone without a bench coach for years now.

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.