Brian Roberts unsure what caused concussion-like symptoms

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After sitting out the Orioles’ season finale yesterday for his sixth consecutive missed game Brian Roberts revealed that he’s been bothered by “concussion-like symptoms” that have led to “lack of balance and some headaches, and just stuff that hasn’t been a whole lot of fun.”
Roberts, who missed nearly the entire first half of the season with a herniated disk in his lower back, is scheduled to undergo a cat scan today in an effort to find the cause of the headaches. Here’s more from the All-Star second baseman:

I don’t know 100 percent sure [what caused the headaches], but it was Monday night. In frustration, I whacked myself on the head with my bat in the ninth. I had my helmet on. It’s something I’ve done a million times, but I still can’t tell you for sure if that was it. But that’s the only thing that I can point to because that night and the next morning, I just didn’t feel good.

Buck Showalter is getting most of the credit for Baltimore’s late-season turnaround, and rightfully so, but getting Roberts back into the lineup was also key for the Orioles. They went 29-26 with Roberts in the lineup during the second half as he hit .287/.361/.403 in 245 plate appearances.
He’s under contract for $10 million in each of the next three seasons.

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.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.