LaRue likely to start Cardinals' season opener

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yadi larue headshot.pngCardinals catcher Yadier Molina has been on the shelf for a little over a week with an oblique injury.  He hasn’t totally been ruled out for Opening Day, and the team’s recent run of roster decisions suggest that management does not believe the injury to be serious. 

The Cards are bringing only two catchers to Cincinnati, where they open the 2010 season against the Reds: Molina and 36-year-old Jason LaRue.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the backup, LaRue, is likely to start Monday’s opener.  He went 9-for-36 this spring with one home run and six RBI in 18 Grapefruit League games and is a .232/.316/.398 career hitter over more than 2,500 major league at-bats.  As a backup to the defensively stellar Molina, he sees very little time behind the plate during the regular season.

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.