Bengie Molina leaning toward retiring after the World Series

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Bengie Molina is in the unique position of getting a World Series ring even if the Rangers lose, as the veteran catcher spent the first half of the season with the Giants before being traded on July 1.

He’s guaranteed some new jewelry and will pad his wallet with a playoff share from both teams, but Molina told reporters yesterday that he’s leaning toward retiring following the series:

It’s more a yes than a no right now. I’m not saying for sure because something can happen in the winter and it can get worked out. But as for now, yes.

Molina wasn’t able to secure a multi-year deal as a free agent last winter and at age 36 would likely have to settle for another one-year pact this time around, but he’d certainly be able to find at least a part-time gig for 2011. However, for all the talk about the importance of his veteran leadership and impact on the Rangers there may not be many starting jobs available for an incredible slow 36-year-old who hit .249/.297/.326.

I’d miss being able to watch a big leaguer with the same body type as me, but one upside to Molina retiring is that it would create a job opening for other Molina brothers who haven’t yet had an opportunity to join the family business of catching big-league pitchers. Bengie, Yadier, and Jose have been hogging all the gigs, but I’m assuming there are at least a dozen more Molina brothers somewhere with equally strong throwing arms and equally molasses-like gaits.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin throwing progression

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The Angels released a medical update on P/DH Shohei Ohtani Thursday evening. Ohtani was reevaluated by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The right-hander’s sprained UCL showed improved healing and, as a result, he has been cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Ohtani, 24, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after his June 6 start against the Royals and hasn’t pitched since, though he has been in the lineup as a hitter since July 3. It was initially believed he would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then the thought was that Ohtani wouldn’t pitch again for the rest of the season, but this update suggests a possibility he could return to the mound before the season is over.

In nine starts, Ohtani put together a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .283/.365/.522 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 157 plate appearances.