Andy LaRoche signs minor league contract with Athletics

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Funny I mentioned Andy LaRoche just a short while ago, because he has signed a minor league deal with the Athletics, according to the team’s Twitter feed. He’ll be a non-roster invitee during spring training.

LaRoche, now 27 years old, was designated for assignment by the Pirates in November after batting just .206/.268/.287 with four home runs and 16 RBI over 271 plate appearances last season. He became a free agent after going unclaimed on waivers.

Once regarded as one of the game’s top prospects, LaRoche has a lowly .224 batting average to go along with a .304 on-base percentage and .338 slugging percentage across 1,228 plate appearances in the major leagues. He’s unlikely to overtake Kevin Kouzmanoff for the starting third base job, but could make the Opening Day roster as a utility infielder now that Adam Rosales is working his way back from foot surgery.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.