No more World Series games in November, as MLB openers scheduled for April 1 next year

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Bud Selig has said that he wants to avoid having the playoffs stretch into November and because of that Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that MLB plans to start next season on Friday, April 1 rather the traditional Monday Opening Day.
Here’s more from Nightengale:

It would be the first time a majority of teams start the season on a Friday since 1905, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The regular season would end Wednesday, Sept. 28 with playoffs opening on Sept. 30 or Oct. 1. The World Series is scheduled to start Wednesday, Oct. 19, a week earlier than the last two years. It would virtually assure the World Series would not be played in November.

According to Selig “anything we could do to finish in October is what I wanted to do” and players association executive director Michael Weiner is on board with the decision.
Last season the World Series concluded with Game 6 on November 4 and Game 7 of this year’s World Series is scheduled for the same date.

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.