Brad Lidge had been pitching in extended spring training down in Clearwater, but he’s on his way back to Philly now due to a setback: elbow soreness.
You’ll recall that the reason he’s on the DL in the first place is a strain of his rotator cuff in his right shoulder, so this is a new problem. Not a terribly worrisome one to the Phillies yet, however, because Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro are saying that it’s a common thing. Maybe an overcompensation injury? They’re going to check him out today, however, to see what’s what.
While that may mean that it’s a while before Lidge is back in action, his role has been filled quite nicely by Ryan Madson, who is 12-for-12 with a 0.64 ERA in save situations. Madson will remain the closer no matter what happens with Lidge, so the implication here is late season bullpen depth more than anything.
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.