Stephen Drew is out of the Red Sox’s lineup with an oblique injury

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UPDATE: Well, that explains the benching. Drew is day-to-day with an oblique injury.

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Stephen Drew has played just four games for the Red Sox since rejoining the team after sitting out the first two months of the season, which is why it seems odd that he’s sitting out tonight’s game against the Orioles.

Not only are the Red Sox facing a right-handed pitcher–which is a good matchup for the left-handed-hitting Drew–but that pitcher is Bud Norris and Drew is a career .462 hitter with a 1.357 OPS in 17 plate appearances off him.

And yet Drew is on the bench tonight and Xander Bogaerts remains at third base, which means Jonathan Herrera is starting at shortstop.

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.