The Giants win the World Series again

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Yomiuri, that is:

[Shinnosuke] Abe drove in the tiebreaking run in the seventh and the Yomiuri bullpen took it from there, as the Giants won the Japan Series with a 4-3 victory over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Game 6 on Saturday night at Tokyo Dome … The Giants won the series 4-2 to claim their record 22nd title.

It was the first time that the San Francisco/New York Giants and the Yomiuri Giants won the series in the same year. The NFL Giants are reigning champs too, so it’s starting to get freaky.

If you care about such things, the Giants gaikokujin include John Bowker, who was traded away from the San Francisco Giants in the middle of 2010, thereby missing out on their championship that year. He won an “outstanding player” award for the series, and you can see him on the dogpile in the picture. Also on the roster: Dicky Gonzalez, D.J. Houlton, Scott Mathieson and Edgar Gonzalez (the former Padres infielder, not the Astros pitcher).

Yeah, it’s a slow news day in the majors. Save yourself the obvious comment.

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.