Cards have some interest in lefty specialist J.C. Romero

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The Phillies designated left-hander J.C. Romero for assignment on Thursday afternoon to clear a spot on their roster for Friday night’s starter, Vance Worley.

Romero has battled control issues and a variety of injuries over the past several seasons in Philadelphia, but he has a great ability to retire left-handed batters and that’s something that has piqued the interest of at least one NL team.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are planning to “investigate Romero’s availability.”

Tony La Russa loves lefty specialists like Rick Reilly loves rolling metaphors, so it certainly seems feasible that the Cardinals might take a real run at acquiring Romero, either through a straight wavier claim or a trade with the Philies. Trever Miller has not been a consistent option for La Russa and Co. this season, and Brian Tallet is a mess. The Cardinals could use a left-handed weapon in their quest for the division crown.

Romero has kept left-handed hitters to a .208 batting average this season and a .185 mark since 2008. He’s on a $1.35 million salary and has issued 92 walks in his last 128 2/3 innings, but no relievers available at the moment are free of past mishaps and the Cardinals badly need bodies for the middle innings.

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.