Oakland’s Dan Straily strikes out 11, wins and then gets demoted

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Dan Straily knew he was only a member of Oakland’s rotation because Bartolo Colon had a handful of games left on his 2012 PED suspension. So, it didn’t come as any surprise when he was optioned to Triple-A after striking out 11 Astros and picking up his third big-league victory Friday.

Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com has the story.

Straily allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings in the victory. He became the third straight starter to reach double figures in strikeouts against the Astros after the Rangers’ Yu Darvish and Alexi Ogando did on Tuesday and Wednesday. Poor Matt Harrison managed only nine strikeouts against them on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Straily moved to 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in eight big-league starts. However, he wasn’t able to beat out A.J. Griffin for the fifth spot in Oakland’s rotation this spring, meaning he was one-and-done this week.

Fortunately for Straily, these are the A’s. It’d be a minor miracle if they made it through the month of April without losing a starter due to injury. Straily is the clear No. 6 on the depth chart, and he’ll be recalled next time the A’s need a replacement. In the meantime, the team will go with Brett Anderson, Colon, Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker and Griffin in the rotation.

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.