Pirates choose Erik Bedard as Opening Day starter

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Considering his lengthy injury history making this official with two weeks left in spring training seems sort of risky, but the Pirates announced that Erik Bedard will start Opening Day.

Manager Clint Hurdle told reporters that he’d planned to give the Opening Day assignment to A.J. Burnett after the Pirates acquired him from the Yankees, but then Burnett went and fractured his orbital bone while practicing bunts. That and his ERAs the past two seasons were 5.26 and 5.15.

Bedard was very effective when healthy last year for the Mariners and Red Sox, making 24 starts with a 3.62 ERA and 125/48 K/BB ratio in 129 innings. In fact, his ERA has been under 3.80 in each of the past five years, which is why he was worth a $4.5 million investment and gets the Game 1 call ahead of James McDonald and Kevin Correia.

Jorge Soler hits Royals’ first home run in nearly two weeks

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The 16-31, last place Royals had a power outage lasting nearly two weeks. Entering Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Cardinals, Jorge Soler had hit the club’s most recent home run, a solo shot off of the Phillies’ Jake Arrieta in the sixth inning on May 10. That time frame spanned eight games.

Soler ended the home run drought, hitting a three-run round-tripper off of Michael Wacha to cap off a six-run third inning in the first game of the twin billing, staking the Royals to a 7-0 lead.

Soler, 27, is now batting .249/.303/.497 with 11 homers, 30 RBI, and 22 runs scored in 198 plate appearances on the season. He’s the only member of the Royals currently in double-digits in homers, though Hunter Dozier (nine) and Alex Gordon (eight) should soon join him.