Juan Rivera returns ahead of schedule from torn hamstring

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Juan Rivera is off the disabled list and back on the Dodgers’ active roster just four weeks after tearing his hamstring, which was initially expected to be a two-month recovery timetable.

To make room for Rivera’s return the Dodgers optioned Scott Van Slyke back to Triple-A after he went 6-for-31 (.194) with one homer in his first taste of the big leagues at age 25.

Rivera’s absence opened the door for Bobby Abreu to claim a big role in the Dodgers’ outfield, so manager Don Mattingly figures to use Rivera as a part-timer primarily versus left-handed pitching.

Video: Jorge Soler launches first home run of spring training

Jorge Soler
Associated Press
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The Royals and Rangers played the first game of spring training today. A few other teams (the Red Sox, Tigers and Twins) played or are currently playing college squads, but Kansas City-Texas is our first matchup of big league teams. Baseball’s back, baby! And you know what baseball means?

Kansas City’s Jorge Soler, who hit 48 homers last year to lead the American League, offered us the year’s first glimpse at recreational baseball murder when he took Kolby Allard out over the left field yard.

Mmm. That’s the good stuff. Here’s to eight and a half months more of that. Bring me the dingers.

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