Link-O-Rama: Pujols slams into tie with Banks

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* After last night’s heroics, Albert Pujols is now 7-for-9 with five grand slams and 24 RBIs in bases-loaded situations this season. Asked about tying Ernie Banks for the NL’s single-season record for grand slams, Pujols said: “Nothing changes. It’s the same approach. Get a good pitch to hit and drive it back through the middle. Just because I’m strong enough, sometimes the ball’s going out of the park.”
* With last night’s scoreless inning Eddie Guardado became the 21st pitcher in baseball history to appear in 900 games. Trevor Hoffman (963) and David Weathers (938) are the only active pitchers with more career appearances, and Everyday Eddie joins Jesse Orosco (1,252), Mike Stanton (1,178), John Franco (1,119), and Dan Plesac (1,064) as the only left-handers in the 900-game club.
* Adrian Gonzalez was out of the Padres’ lineup yesterday and didn’t appear as a pinch-hitter, ending his MLB-leading and franchise-record streak of 314 straight games.
* Having paid $7 a pop for Yuengling lagers at Camden Yards in Baltimore last week, I’m interested in Team Marketing Report finding that the Giants have the most expensive beer in baseball at $8 and the average MLB team charges $6 for a 16-ounce brew.
* Speaking of going to Baltimore last week, if you’re interested in reading my trip report from the annual Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) convention, click here. It’s not pretty, so be warned.
* According to the New York Post, David Wright and his friends Thumbnail image for albertpujols2.JPG

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.