Joe Maddon “very confident” he’ll sign extension with Rays

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Joe Maddon is entering the final season of his contract with the Rays, but the reigning Manager of the Year told reporters at the winter meetings that he’s “very confident” the two sides will be able to work out an extension.

Maddon revealed that they’ve already begun talking and said he’s “really not concerned about it” because “I’m sure it’s going to be all worked out in due time.”

He also said going into the season without a new deal in place wouldn’t bother him, but as Jim Riggleman and Ozzie Guillen would attest to generally speaking managers who don’t get extensions with one year remaining on their contracts eventually run into issues.

According to Cot’s Contracts he’ll be paid around $1.4 million for 2012 as part of a three-year deal inked in May of 2009, so Maddon should be in line for a sizable raise.

Mitch Haniger leaves game with oblique injury

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Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger left Tuesday night’s game against the Tigers with a strained oblique, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Haniger suffered the injury running after hitting a single in the third inning. He was 2-for-2 when he exited the game.

Haniger will almost certainly be placed on the 10-day disabled list as a result of the injury. It’s a big loss for the Mariners, as he entered the night batting .321/.430/.590 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 93 plate appearances.

Danny Valencia, who pinch-ran for Haniger and stayed in the game to play right field, is likely to take Haniger’s spot in the lineup and in the outfield during his absence.

Jose Altuve, Teoscar Hernandez leave game after collision

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Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and outfielder Teoscar Hernandez collided attempting to catch a shallow fly ball hit by Indians catcher Yan Gomes in the bottom of the eighth inning during Tuesday night’s game.

Hernandez, who was called up earlier on Tuesday, had just come into the game as a defensive replacement for Carlos Beltran. George Springer entered the game in right field in Hernandez’s place after Hernandez was carted off the field. Altuve was replaced at second base by Marwin Gonzalez.

The Astros should have updates on the conditions of both players after the game. Losing Altuve would be a big deal for the first-place Astros, as he entered the game batting .324/.393/.459 with seven stolen bases.