Mariano Rivera to start throwing next week, says knee is at about “95 percent”

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Encouraging news to pass along regarding Mariano Rivera, who is currently working his way back from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee.

According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, Rivera said today that he plans to start his offseason throwing program next week. That’s earlier than normal for him, but he’s doing things a little differently coming off major surgery. The 43-year-old also estimated that his knee is at around “95 percent” recovered.

“It needs more strengthening,” Rivera said. “The five percent will come quick.”

As of now, there’s every indication that Rivera will be ready for spring training and a potential save chance on Opening Day. Whether you are a Yankees fan or not, that’s a cool thing to think about on this quiet January afternoon.

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.