Royals outfielder Soler to start season on DL
Acquired from Cubs in offseason, he hurt himself on a swing.
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler will likely begin his first season in Kansas City on the disabled list after straining his oblique in a minor league game.
Soler, acquired from the Cubs in December for closer Wade Davis, hurt himself on a swing Sunday. Soler went for a MRI on Monday, and manager Ned Yost acknowledged Soler was expected to be out of action when the Royals open Monday at Minnesota.
Soler, expected to begin the season as the Royals’ starter in right field, entered Monday batting just .143 (7 for 49) with two homers in 17 Cactus League games.
In the last two weeks, he had begun playing in minorleague games in an effort to rack up additional at-bats.
Soler missed nearly two months last season with a pulled left hamstring. He was sidelined for three weeks in 2015 with a left oblique injury, plus another month with a sprained ankle.
Yost also said Raul Mondesi will open the season as the starting second baseman. Mondesi won the job over Whit Merrifield, Christian Colon and Cheslor Cuthbert.
Mondesi, 21, began Monday hitting .378 this spring with a .622 slugging percentage, three home runs and two doubles in 19 games.
“For anybody who watched, it was definitely an obvious choice,” Yost said.
The Royals also optioned first baseman-outfielder Peter O’Brien, who hit a Cactus League-leading seven homers, to Triple-A Omaha.
Nationals: Veteran reliever Joe Nathan was released. Nathan’s 377 career saves rank second among active pitchers and eighth in major league history. Nathan, 42, went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in only 61/3 innings with the Cubs and Giants last season as he worked his way back from a second Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow. The Nationals also released reliever Matt Albers.
Rangers: Veteran first baseman James Loney was released. Loney, a non-roster invitee, hit .174 with one homer in 16 spring training games. Also, knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.
Reds: Outfielder Ryan Raburn was released after he struggled in a bid to win
a bench role. Raburn, who turns 36 in April, hit only .219 in spring training. Under his contract, the Reds had to pay him $100,000 if he was still on the roster after Monday. Red Sox: Tyler Thornburg was scratched from Monday’s game, and the team indicated the right-handed reliever will start the season on the disabled list.
Orioles: With Chris Tillman slowed by a sore right shoulder, right-hander Kevin Gausman was named the opening day starter for Monday’s game against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards. Tillman, who had started the previous three openers, was hoping to become the first Orioles pitcher since Jim Palmer (197477) to start four straight openers. Manager Buck Showalter also said right-hander Dylan Bundy, who was a reliever last season, will start Baltimore’s second game on Wednesday.
Mets: Zack Wheeler, out the last two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery, pitched five shutout innings, allowing two hits while walking two and striking out three in Monday’s 5-0 win over the Marlins.
Brewers: Retired MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in Monday’s season opener against the Rockies. Selig, a former owner of the Brewers, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 30, his 83rd birthday.
Twins: Former bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in Monday’s season opener against the Royals. The longest-tenured coach in club history, Stelmaszek was on staff from 1981 through 2012.
Jorge Soler was expected to be the Royals’ starting right fielder this season.