Grady Sizemore won’t return during August

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The Indians gave Grady Sizemore’s recovery a 4-6 week timetable when he underwent surgery for a hernia on July 18, but manager Manny Acta said Tuesday that it’s likely to be longer than that now.

Acta ruled out a return for Sizemore during the month of August, though he did say Sizemore could resume playing catch and swinging a bat by the end of the week.  There’s no guarantee that Sizemore, also plagued by knee problems, will return this season.

Sizemore hit .237/.304/.466 with 10 homers and 29 RBI in 232 at-bats before going down last month.

In better news for the Indians, Shin-Soo Choo began his rehab assignment as planned Monday, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout for low Single-A Lake County.  Choo, coming back from a fractured left thumb, will DH for Lake County tonight and then get Wednesday off.  He could rejoin the Indians in 7-10 days.

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.