Shelby Miller doesn’t expect to miss a start

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Shelby Miller left his start last night against the Dodgers after he was struck in the right elbow by a comebacker off the bat of Carl Crawford in the first inning, but it looks like the Cardinals dodged a bullet.

While Miller suffered an elbow contusion as the result of being hit, he told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today that he doesn’t expect to miss a start. In fact, he said he feels better today than if he had made it through his start like normal.

Assuming no setbacks, Miller will be ready to start in a big series against the first-place Pirates next week in St. Louis. As Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com notes, the Cardinals are arranging their rotation against the Cubs this weekend so that ace Adam Wainwright will open the series against the Bucs. That should be a lot of fun.

Miller, 22, is 11-7 with a 2.89 ERA and 132/35 K/BB ratio over 121 innings in his rookie season.

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.