Pujols likely to avoid Tommy John surgery

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Pujols headshot.jpgMLB.com’s Matthew Leach has`some excellent news for Cardinals fans and those lucky enough to land the No. 1 pick in fantasy drafts this spring.  Albert Pujols, who has dealt with a right elbow injury for much of his career, has been given a 95 percent chance of avoiding Tommy John surgery.

“If I recall, that’s what Dr. [James] Andrew s and Dr. [George] Paletta agreed, Pujols said Sunday.  “There’s a 95 percent that I’ll feel good.
Pujols first injured his elbow back in 2003 but has been able to play through the pain and discomfort with only one minor procedure.  Albert hit .327/.443/.658 last season with 45 doubles, 47 home runs and 135 RBI.  He owns an unreal .334/.427/.628 career batting line.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.