Mike Cameron willing to accept fourth outfielder role in Boston

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Alex Speier of WEEI.com has a good article about Mike Cameron, who was signed to be the Red Sox’s starting center fielder last offseason and is now slated to be their fourth outfielder following an injury wrecked season and the Carl Crawford signing.

General manager Theo Epstein called Cameron before the Crawford deal was official to inform the veteran outfielder he was no longer likely to be a starter, yet a short time later Cameron still called Crawford to welcome him to Boston.

Cameron is under contract for $7.25 million this season, but his agent told Speier that he’s “not angling to leave the Red Sox just for the sake of more playing time elsewhere” and “has not requested a trade.”

Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and J.D. Drew are the Red Sox’s projected starters, so right now Cameron’s role would likely be limited to starting in place of Ellsbury or Drew against some left-handed pitchers and stepping into the lineup when injuries hit. That would be a big change for a player who’s been a starting center fielder for the past 14 seasons, but if Cameron is indeed willing to accept a part-time role it would give the Red Sox a great fallback option following a season in which injuries tested the organization’s depth.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.