Ivan Nova has to compete for a spot in Yankees’ rotation

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Last season Ivan Nova was dumped from the Yankees’ rotation down the stretch and then left off the playoff roster, and manager Joe Girardi said yesterday that he’s not guaranteed a starting job this year.

Girardi told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger that Nova “has to go out and prove himself” in order to claim the fifth starter spot, with David Phelps serving as his primary competition.

Nova’s secondary numbers were much better than his ugly 5.02 ERA last season, but two years ago his 3.70 ERA and 16-4 record were much better than his secondary numbers. Overall he has a 4.41 ERA in 61 career starts through age 25, while Phelps is the same age and has started just 11 games as a big leaguer.

Seems pretty safe to say Nova is the favorite to be the Yankees’ fifth starter, but it makes sense that Girardi wants him to have to work for it.

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.