Kendry Morales set for surgery, still hoping to play again this season

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Kendry Morales will undergo surgery tomorrow, two weeks after fracturing his ankle while celebrating a walk-off homer. Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Morales was initially slated to go under the knife the day after the injury, but surgery was delayed until the swelling subsided.
He’ll have a metal rod and/or screws inserted “to hold the fibula in place” and won’t be able to put any weight on his left leg for at least 4-6 weeks. However, there’s apparently still some chance that Morales could return in September, which is suddenly noteworthy with the Angels digging out of an early hole to reclaim their usual spot near the top of the AL West.
“We really reinforced the idea that he’s got to listen to the doctors,” manager Mike Scioscia told Saxon. “Its going to take time. You can’t rush it. Right now, I think he’s anxious to get into the surgery and the rehab.”
After placing fifth in the MVP voting last season Morales was hitting .290 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs in 51 games, and his injury could put the Angels in the market for a veteran first baseman such as Paul Konerko of the White Sox. For now Mike Napoli, Robb Quinlan, and Michael Ryan have been splitting time at first base, but Napoli is a catcher and the other two offer little offensively.

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.