Tyson Ross has thrown 11.1 consecutive scoreless innings in the Cactus League, pushing his overall spring ERA down to 2.76. His early success is pushing his stock higher and higher, which may eventually result in his winning the #5 spot in the starting rotation. At the very least, he may warrant a spot in the bullpen.
Via Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, manager Bud Black is impressed:
“I like the way he’s pitching the last couple starts,” Black said. “He’s doing his part to forge his way onto our roster, whether it’s in the bullpen or it’s in the rotation.”
Coming over from the Oakland Athletics in a November trade, Ross has a career 5.33 ERA in 148.2 innings. Despite the scoreless streak, Ross has allowed eight walks in 16.1 spring innings, which may be one cause for concern.
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.