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Spring Training 2017: Yadier Molina gives Cardinals contract ultimatum

Yadier Molina is waiting for a thumbs up from the Cardinals in contract extension talks. (AP)
Yadier Molina is waiting for a thumbs up from the Cardinals in contract extension talks. (AP)

Welcome to The Stew’s Spring Headlines, our daily look at the biggest MLB stories and news items from around spring training. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

DEADLINE: Talks concerning a potential contract extension for Yadier Molina were pushed into the background at Cardinals camp while he was away at the World Baseball Classic. Now they’re front and center again after the eight-time Gold Glove award winner gave the team a pretty clear ultimatum.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Molina told the media on Saturday that he does not want contract negotiations to spill into the regular season. That gives the Cardinals roughly one week to reach an agreement. The Cardinals open up their season on Sunday, April 2, when they host the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

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But wait, there’s more to this story.

Molina added another level of intrigue and perhaps anxiety for Cardinals fans by mentioning he’s “not afraid” to test free agency should it come to that.

“I would love to. I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.”

“Hopefully,” Molina said. “Hopefully we can get it done before the opening starts. After the opening, I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ve got one more week to talk about it. And then after that I’m going to concentrate on my game. Whatever they want to do. Like I’ve said: I want to stay here. But if they don’t want to spend money I understand that, too. This is a business. I’m going to try and concentrate on myself.”

Most of the time these comments are all about jockeying for position in negotiations. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak knows the drill, which is he why he preached patience when discussing an extension for Molina previously. Still, for the sake of a healthy relationship between player and team, and for the sake of anxious fans, perhaps there will be some urgency shown this week.  Stay tuned to this one, folks. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

TIMELINE: The Red Sox have yet to lay out a firm timeline for David Price’s return, but recent developments suggest he’ll miss the entire month of April. [ESPN]

LOCKED IN: The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a six-year, $49.5M contract extension with second baseman Rougned Odor. [The Stew]

ON HOLD: In other Rangers extension news, talks with veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy have been tabled for the time being. It isn’t known whether the two sides will re-open talks prior to opening day or during the regular season. [@JeffWilson_FWTS]

SECOND OPINION: White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon received encouraging news on Saturday when an MRI on his sore left biceps came back clean. Just to be sure though, he’ll have a second opinion on Monday before getting into preparation for the regular season. [Chicago Sun Times]

MLB PREVIEW: Can the Giants get back in the championship picture? [The Stew]

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/spring-training-2017-yadier-molina-gives-cardinals-contract-ultimatum-025443914.html

D-backs nearing final staff after latest roster cuts

Zack Godley was optioned to Triple-A Reno while fellow righty Kevin Jepsen was released.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/arizona/story/d-backs-nearing-final-staff-after-latest-roster-cuts-032517

Cory Abbott threw the first perfect game in Loyala Marymount history

Cory Abbott (right) celebrates his historic perfect game. (Loyola Marymount)
Cory Abbott (right) celebrates his historic perfect game. (Loyola Marymount)

Saturday’s college baseball game between Loyala Marymount University and Brigham Young University wasn’t on too many sports fans radars. That’s our loss, because we missed perhaps the most dominant pitching outing we’ll see all season on any level.

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LMU right-hander Cory Abbott made history, pitching the first-ever perfect game in school history. And in addition to being dominant, he was also remarkably efficient as his final statline shows.

Abbott, who entered the game with a 4.30 ERA and only 22 in his first 29 1/3 innings this season, appropriately capped his perfect outing with a strikeout of pinch hitter Tanner Chauncey.

Check out how calm Abbott was after firing that final strike. Then watch as he’s overtaken by a stampede of celebrating teammates. It doesn’t get any better than that scene.

According to LMU’s website, the school had two previous no-hitters. Bob Seus had the first-against Long Beach State back on March 14, 1980. The second was tossed by current volunteer assistant Matt Florer against Cal State Northridge on April 23, 2013.

Based on his numbers, Abbott would not have seemed like a great candidate to be third on that list, or to throw a perfect game. That’s the beauty of baseball though. Sometimes, a pitcher has everything going, and even that’s not enough. Then there are days like Saturday, where Abbott clearly had everything going, and everything around him lined up to make it happen.

It’s a day Cory Abbott will never forget, and an achievement we’re happy to celebrate along with him.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

Permanent link to this article: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/cory-abbott-threw-the-first-perfect-game-in-loyala-marymount-history-012014272.html

A-Rod opens up to Miami students: ‘I was just a really big jerk’

Alex Rodriguez spoke openly about his past decisions in a talk with University of Miami students.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/alex-rodriguez-yankees-steroids-miami-talk-032517

Twins’ Field, Goodrum homer in loss to Orioles

Minnesota's Tommy Field and Niko Goodrum went yard against Baltimore

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/north/story/twins-field-goodrum-homer-in-loss-to-orioles-032517

Corey Dickerson continues strong spring as Rays fall to Red Sox

The Rays come up short against the Red Sox split squad.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/florida/story/tampa-bay-rays-boston-red-sox-spring-training-score-recap-032517

Justin Nicolino spins 5 shutout frames, Marlins top Cardinals

Derek Dietrich drives in the game's only run Saturday afternoon.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/florida/story/miami-marlins-st-louis-cardinals-spring-training-score-recap-032517

Jones back with Orioles after winning World Baseball Classic

Adam Jones provided perhaps the best highlight of the World Baseball Classic, when he took a home run away from Manny Machado with a spectacular catch in center field.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/jones-back-with-orioles-after-winning-world-baseball-classic-032517

Cubs avoid shooting outside team hotel in Las Vegas

Chicago Cubs players avoided a shooting that took place outside their hotel on the Las Vegas strip on Saturday.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/cubs-avoid-shooting-outside-team-hotel-las-vegas-032517

Back with Giants, Crawford looks back on WBC experience

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Brandon Crawford was in high demand Saturday morning from the moment he arrived inside the San Francisco Giants' spring training clubhouse.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/back-with-giants-crawford-looks-back-on-wbc-experience-032517

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