Yadier Molina
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Report: Cardinals working on contract extension with Yadier Molina

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The Athletic’s Mark Saxon reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina have been working on a contract extension that would keep the veteran in St. Louis through 2021 and likely through the ’22 season. Molina expressed interest in an extension back in November and may yet get his wish.

Molina, 37, is in the final year of his three-year, $60 million contract that pays him $20 million annually. He will once again be the starting catcher for the Cardinals, backed up by Matt Wieters. It is still unclear how the Cardinals plan to utilize prospect Andrew Knizner, whether adding him to the roster as a third catcher or having him start the season at Triple-A Memphis.

Last season, Molina hit a light .270/.312/.399 with 10 home runs and 57 RBI in 452 plate appearances while playing typically great defense behind the plate. He’s clearly not the catcher he once was, but he can still hold his own as a regular and can greatly benefit the Cardinals by helping to mentor Knizner.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The players association said Wednesday night it was dismayed by the length of the ban.

“While we understand the concerns raised by the league with respect to a bench-clearing incident during this challenging season, we’re disappointed by the decision,” the union said. “It was an unfair result for Joe Kelly given the cases presented.”

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty that was first reported by Barstool Sports.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.