Stephen Strasburg homers, leaves with biceps tightness

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Stephen Strasburg had a very eventful day Sunday in the Nationals’ 9-3 win over the Orioles. He hit his first big-league homer off Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen, but he left the game after five innings with some biceps tightness.

”I don’t care who it was, if I find out they have tightness, they’re out”‘ manager Davey Johnson said. ”I talked to him later in the game. He said it relaxed a bit and was a lot better. I’m not as concerned when it’s in the biceps.”

Strasburg echoed those thoughts:

”The biceps is fine,” he said. ”It’s just throwing a lot of pitches early, then we put up a lot of runs and stuff. I just got a little tired, got a little tight, but that’s nothing different than any other outing.”

For now, Strasburg appears to be penciled in to make his next start, though since he’s on an innings limit this year anyway, the Nationals could always choose to give him a little break. Or they could always try him in left field. Strasburg went 2-for-2 today and is 6-for-16 with four extra-base hits at the plate this season. He was just 1-for-26 lifetime entering the season.

On the mound, Strasburg allowed three runs — one earned — in his five innings today. He fanned eight and threw 91 pitches.

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.