Cubs give minor league deals to Brent Lillibridge and Darnell McDonald

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According to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, the Cubs have signed utility man Brent Lillibridge and outfielder Darnell McDonald to minor league contracts. Both will get invites to major league spring training.

Lillibridge, 29, batted just .199/.250/.274 with three homers, 13 stolen bases and a .524 OPS in 209 plate appearances last season between the White Sox, Red Sox and Indians. However, he’s capable of playing everywhere and socked 13 homers as recently as 2011.

McDonald batted .214 (18-for-84) with two homers in 38 games with the Red Sox last season and went 0-for-4 in a brief stint with the Yankees. The 34-year-old owns a .778 OPS over 431 plate appearances against left-handed pitching in the majors and clearly still has a fan in Cubs president Theo Epstein.

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.