Royals sign Carlos Pena

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Released by the Astros on July 31, veteran first baseman Carlos Pena has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals.

Kansas City is obviously set at first base and designated hitter with Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler, but general manager Dayton Moore is apparently looking at Pena as a left-handed bench option for September.

Pena hit .209 with eight homers and a .674 OPS in 85 games for the Astros and hasn’t posted a batting average above .230 since 2008, but he can still draw tons of walks and smack the occasional extra-base hit. For now he’ll head to Triple-A and try to play his way into a September call-up.

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.