Freddy Sanchez has had so many false starts and setbacks with his surgically repaired shoulder that recovery timetables seem sort of silly at this point, but the Giants have a new one anyway.
Sanchez’s minor-league rehab assignment begins today and manager Bruce Bochy told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that the Giants have mapped out an 18-day plan that would have him returning from the disabled list on May 11.
At one point this offseason Sanchez and the Giants were hopeful that he could get back in time for Opening Day, but he’s now nearly 10 months removed from surgery. Emmanuel Burriss has emerged as the Giants’ primary second baseman in Sanchez’s absence, with Ryan Theriot also getting some starts, but they’ve combined to bat just .250 with zero extra-base hits and a .541 OPS.
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.