New Yankee Stadium already showing cracks

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It seems the Yankees’ new $1.5 billion city-subsidized stadium is beginning to show cracks,
just six months after its debut. The team has recently fallen under
scrutiny for cracks in the concrete pedestrian ramps — some as much as
an inch wide and several feet long — prompting the team to hire an
engineering company to determine whether the problems were caused by
the installation, the design, the concrete or other factors.

On the bright side, Alice McGillion, a team spokeswoman, called the cracks
“cosmetic,” saying that they pose no safety issues because they did
not affect the structural integrity of the ramps.

“There is no evidence that there is any issue or problem with concrete or any material in the building,” she said.

Interstate Industrial Corporation, the company that poured the
concrete, was banned from doing city work in 2004 because city
investigators
concluded it had ties to organized crime, an accusation its owners have
denied.

Interstate may sound familiar since they are currently front-and-center
in the trial of former Giuliani Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik. According to the Village Voice, Kerik is accused of accepting $165,000 in renovations on his Riverdale apartment from the
DiTomasso brothers — the principals of Interstate — in return for
recommending them for city contracts they were barred from.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the company that evaluated the strength
of the concrete poured for the walkways, Testwell Laboratories, its
owners and several officers were indicted last year on state
racketeering charges. It’s unclear whether the team will have to tear
out any of the concrete in the ramps in question, however, according to
the New York Times, the problem could cost several million dollars to
fix.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.