Chris Carpenter “not very optimistic” about pitching this year

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Chris Carpenter experienced a setback in his rehab last week when the numbness in his hand returned and yesterday the Cardinals right-hander told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that he’s “not very optimistic” about pitching this season.

And if that happens he will have thrown all of 31 innings for the Cardinals over the span of two full seasons, last pitching in Game 6 of the NLCS in October. Carpenter is an impending free agent and will be 39 years old next April, so not returning this season could mean never returning.

Carpenter hasn’t said a whole lot about his potential plans beyond 2013, but when asked about his status for 2014 he replied: “That’s a great question.”

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.