Rangers activate Lance Berkman and Neftali Feliz

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From FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi comes word that the Rangers have activated Lance Berkman and Neftali Feliz from their respective disabled list stints as part of a collection of roster moves coinciding with the September 1 expansion of major league rosters.

Berkman has been sidelined since the first week of July with hip and knee issues and is expected to have a limited role out of the gate. The 37-year-old has made only 379 plate appearances since the beginning of the 2012 season and was said to be considering sudden retirement earlier this summer.

Feliz has been rehabbing from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery for the past 14 months. He’ll be used as a reliever through the end of the 2013 regular season and playoffs, but the talented 25-year-old right-hander should be given the opportunity to pitch his way back into a rotation spot next spring.

Texas (79-56) is currently two games up on Oakland (77-58) in the American League West standings.

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.