Royals put Felipe Paulino on disabled list with elbow injury

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Felipe Paulino looked like a candidate for a mini-breakout this season after throwing 125 innings with a 4.11 ERA and 119 strikeouts following a trade to the Royals last year, but instead the 28-year-old right-hander was placed on the disabled list with elbow soreness.

Manager Ned Yost indicated to Dick Kaegel of MLB.com that the injury is not considered serious, but Paulino has a history of elbow problems and it means both Luis Mendoza and Danny Duffy will be in the Opening Day rotation while he recovers from what is officially being called a right forearm flexor pronator strain.

They’ll join Opening Day starter Bruce Chen, plus Jonathan Sanchez and Luke Hochevar, which is a group that plays a big part in me being skeptical about the Royals’ chances of finally contending this season.

(And just because I’m still a child, this out-of-context quote from Yost about Paulino made me chuckle: “He’s a real tight-bodied guy.”)

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.