SURPRISE, Ariz. — 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 Chicago Cubs in December for closer Wade Davis, hurt himself on a swing Sunday. Soler went for a MRI Monday, and Manager Ned Yost acknowledged Soler was expected to be out of action when the Royals open next Monday at Minnesota.

Yost also said Raul Mondesi will open the season as the starting second baseman.

RED SOX: The Red Sox scratched Tyler Thornburg and indicated the righty reliever will start the season on the disabled list. In Monday’s game, an 11-9 win over Baltimore, Eduardo Rodriguez got the start and worked six innings. He gave up nine hits and six runs, four of them earned

For the Sox, Steve Selsky homered for the fourth time this spring and Sandy Leon homered twice, including a grand slam.

RANGERS: Texas released veteran first baseman James Loney from his minor league contract.

The Rangers also optioned knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa to Triple-A Round Rock and reassigned outfielder Jared Hoying to minor league camp.

Loney, a non-roster invitee, hit .174 with one homer in 16 spring training games. He was a backup for the New York Mets last season, and has a .284 career batting average in 1,443 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston, Tampa Bay and the Mets.

ORIOLES: Baltimore will have a new starter for their April 3 opener for the first time in the last four years.

Manager Buck Showalter said right-hander Kevin Gausman to start against Toronto.

The move to start the 26-year-old Gausman wasn’t unexpected. Showalter had ruled right-hander Chris Tillman out of the opener when spring training began last month because of a sore right shoulder.

Gausman, who was 9-12 with a 3.61 ERA last season, wasn’t surprised by the announcement.

“Thought I might have a chance obviously with Tilly out,” Gausman said. “That’s one thing. If Chris is healthy right now it’s his game to start. But (I’m) happy, excited.”

Tillman, who had started the previous three openers, was hoping to become the first Orioles pitcher since Jim Palmer (1974-77) to start four straight openers.

METS: Steven Matz made it through a 55-pitch flat-ground session, despite his recent elbow flare-up, but his status for the first week of the regular season remains in doubt. Matz was scratched from Monday’s scheduled Grapefruit League start with elbow tenderness.

REDS: Cincinnati released outfielder Ryan Raburn after he struggled in a bid to win a bench role.

Raburn turns 36 in April. He signed a minor league deal last month and hit .219 during spring training with seven hits, three home runs and seven strikeouts in 32 at-bats.

NATIONALS: Veteran reliever Joe Nathan, 42, was released, ending his bid to make the team.

The Nationals also unconditionally released another righty reliever on Monday, Matt Albers.

Nathan’s 377 career saves rank second among active pitchers and eighth in major league history.

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