As speculated last week by Troy Renck of the Denver Post and then confirmed Wednesday, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa will start for the Rockies on Opening Day, March 31, against the Marlins. It’s the beginning of a four-game series at Marlins Park.
Jhoulys Chacin would have been given the honor, but he suffered a right shoulder strain near the end of February and is expected to begin the 2014 regular season with a stint on the 15-day disabled list.
This will be the first Opening Day start for De La Rosa, who posted a career-best 3.49 ERA (127 ERA+) in 167 2/3 innings last season for Colorado.
He is currently scheduled to become a free agent five days after the 2014 World Series.
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.