All is well with Josh Hamilton.
According to John Blake, the vice president of communications for the Rangers, Hamilton was released from the hospital this afternoon after a five-day stay because of pneumonia.
The illness never got too serious and Hamilton only remained in the hospital for more than a couple of days so that his recovery might be accelerated. The 29-year-old has another month to gain back any strength that he lost and should have no trouble getting back to 100 percent by the time spring training opens.
Hamilton posted a spectacular .359/.411/.633 batting line, 32 home runs and 100 RBI in 133 games for the Rangers last year, winning MVP honors in the American League. He should be a monster again in 2011.
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.
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.