Jarrod Parker was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all

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Sorry, I saw Susan Slusser’s headline from her piece on Jarrod Parker — “A’s Parker shaped by happenstance …” — and that’s the first thing I thought of.

That aside, it’s a good piece about Parker, his brother and growing up in baseball. Fun anecdotes and that sort of thing.  And this:

Justin and Jarrod played all over the diamond, and that meant volunteering at pitcher occasionally.

“I was just messing around at the end of my freshman year, and a varsity guy was watching and said, ‘I think we’re going to get you on the mound a few times,’ ” Jarrod said. In his repertoire then: a since-retired knuckleball.

Whoever told Parker to quit throwing a knuckleball should be tried for high crimes.

Seriously: there was a time when a ton of pitchers had a knuckleball they could use on occasion. It didn’t make them “knuckleballers.” It was just a pitch that they had.  A little dipsy-doodle they could whip out on occasion to keep hitters off balance.  I have no idea why no one does that anymore.

My guess: some conventional wisdom about how throwing three knuckleballs a week totally screws up a pitcher’s mechanics or something. But there’s so much baseball conventional wisdom that isn’t all that wise, I wonder if there’s any real truth to that.

Anyway: whip out the knuckleball again, Jarrod. For the kids.

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.