UPDATE: Cliff Lee has right abdominal strain

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Update: Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that Lee has a right lower abdominal strain. He was treated in Seattle on Friday be team doctor Edward Khalfayan. Lee underwent an ultra-sound exam and was given a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection.
He’s scheduled to be re-evaluated in one week, but as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes, “you can forget about week one.”
6:33 pm: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that Cliff Lee has left the Mariners and boarded a plane to Seattle, possibly for medical reasons.
The Mariners had no comment on the reason for Lee’s departure, othen than to say that it wasn’t a personal matter. The lack of comment suggests that it’s not related to his recent suspension for throwing at the Diamondbacks’ Chris Snyder.
Lee had foot surgery last month, but he’s returned to make two starts already this spring and he was on track to start Seattle’s second game of the season. Baker speculates that this may be nothing more than a checkup for the foot. If it’s something more serious, we’ll probably know more within the next few hours.

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.