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Dalton Pompey exits World Baseball Classic contest after stolen base injury

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Dalton Pompey was pulled from the eighth inning of the Canada-Columbia match on Saturday after injuring his face on a stolen base attempt.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Pompey reached base on a force out and stole second base while third baseman Eric Wood was up to bat against Team Columbia’s Yohan Pino. According to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Pompey dove headfirst into the base and appeared to hit his face against the ground. He was able to get up and resume his station in center field after being evaluated by the medical team and successfully passing an eye test, but was later pulled in the eighth inning after feeling mild dizziness.

While the injury doesn’t appear to threaten Pompey’s chances of suiting up for the Blue Jays next month, it could keep him sidelined from further play in the World Baseball Classic. Davidi noted that the outfielder is subject to concussion protocol implemented by Major League Baseball and will need to undergo a series of tests before he can be cleared to return to the field. This is the second concussion Pompey has sustained in the last nine months. He’s scheduled to undergo further testing on Sunday.

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.