Carlos Carrasco’s return from Tommy John elbow surgery was delayed by having to serve a six-game suspension left over from plunking Billy Butler with a pitch in 2011. With his suspension over, Carrasco returned to the mound last night against the Yankees … and was ejected in the fourth inning for plunking Kevin Youkilis.
Carrasco hit Youkilis after Robinson Cano hit a homer in a blowout and Yankees manager Joe Girardi is convinced it was on purpose, but afterward Carrasco insisted it was an accident:
I know it doesn’t look good. I really want to say sorry. I don’t want to hit anybody. I don’t want to do anything bad. I waited a year and a half to get my suspension [done] and everything. I don’t want to do that again. I don’t want to be suspended.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that Carrasco waited for Terry Francona outside the manager’s office to explain himself and say he didn’t do it on purpose, but no one involved from either side seems fully convinced. And either way he’s probably facing another suspension.
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.