Darwin Barney out for opener because of gashed knee

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As first reported by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney has been ruled out for the first game of the regular season — Monday vs. the Pirates — due to a deep cut on his left knee that required five stitches.

Barney suffered the gash Saturday during an exhibition game in Houston while trying to track down a foul pop-up along the first-base boundary wall. There’s a chance he could be placed on the disabled list. Brent Lillibridge is expected to fill in.

Barney registered a weak .254/.299/.354 batting line across 588 plate appearances last season for Chicago, but the 27-year-old won Gold Glove honors for his excellent defense at second base.

Braves shutting down Mike Soroka for 4-5 days due to shoulder problems

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Braves starter Mike Soroka will be shut down for the next 4-5 days due to renewed soreness in his right shoulder.

Soroka is not presently listed in the top five of the Braves depth chart at starter, but is nonetheless an enormously talented pitcher who, at some point this season, was likely to figure into their plans. He was supposed to figure in more largely than he did last season, but after an impressive debut he missed the entire second half with shoulder problems, making only five starts.

There will no doubt be a reevaluation of him in the next few days, but this is could bad news for the Braves’ pitching depth.