Gio Gonzalez likely to begin rehab assignment next week

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Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez had no problems during a 35-pitch bullpen session Thursday, so Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that he’ll throw a simulated game Sunday and then hopefully be cleared for a minor-league rehab assignment next week.

Gonzalez has been on the disabled list since May 18 with shoulder inflammation, but now looks to be on track for a mid-June return to the Nationals’ rotation.

Gonzalez posted a 4.62 ERA in nine starts before being shut down, but his secondary numbers were right in line with his career norms and included 53 strikeouts in 51 innings.

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.