When the Rockies declined their $4.25 million option on Rafael Betancourt and re-signed him to a minor-league deal the assumption was that he wouldn’t be a factor this season following Tommy John elbow surgery last August.
However, the 39-year-old reliever has made enough progress in his recovery that a September call-up is now a possibility.
Betancourt’s minor-league rehab assignment has been moved to Triple-A and Rockies manager Walt Weiss told Nick Groke of the Denver Post that “we’ll see if there’s an opportunity to get him in the mix down the stretch.”
Prior to blowing out his elbow Betancourt was consistently one of the elite relievers in baseball, posting a 3.19 ERA with 684 strikeouts in 646 career innings while frequently compiling some of the best strikeout-to-walk ratios around.
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.
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.