Greg Hauck, Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols to undergo more tests on sprained left wrist


8:00 p.m. EDT: The Cardinals don’t intend to immediately place Pujols on the disabled list with the sprained left wrist and shoulder injury he suffered Sunday.  Pujols said he isn’t yet certain how serious the problems are.

“To be honest, I can’t give you guys too much until the X-rays and an MRI  tomorrow,” he said. “I know I’m pretty sore. Am I worried? Of course. Hopefully, everything will come out negative
tomorrow. When I come out of a game, believe me, something is really wrong. Hopefully, cross our fingers and I’ll be all right.”


Ugly scene in St. Louis.

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols was lifted in the sixth inning of Sunday’s series finale against the Royals after appearing to injure his left wrist and shoulder while stretching for a wayward throw from second baseman Pete Kozma.

Kozma made a nice play, ranging to his right and firing off a throw while leaping away from the infield. But the ball was not on target and Pujols jammed his extended left arm into the body of Wilson Betemit, who was trucking down the first base line.

Pujols immediately hit the ground in pain and his wrist began showing significant swelling within seconds. It’s quite possible that he suffered a fracture.

Pujols homered in the bottom of the fifth inning after taking an up-and-in pitch from Royals reliever Louis Coleman. The go-ahead shot left Busch Stadium in under two seconds and put a charge into the crowd, but that energy was erased quickly in the top of the sixth when Albert hit the deck.

A free agent this winter, Pujols had mashed eight home runs and tallied 14 RBI in 17 games this month. He was quickly making up for a slow offensive start. Now it seems that all could be put on hold for a while.


UPDATE, 4:22 PM: According to the Cardinals’ television broadcast (FS Midwest), Pujols has been diagnosed with a sprained left wrist. He will be examined by a physician Monday. So far, the news is promising.

UPDATE, 5:34 PM: La Russa revealed very little in his postgame press conference, telling reporters only that “there’s a chance” Pujols avoided a major injury. The Cardinals tend to keep injury information close to the vest and might not address the matter further until Monday afternoon, after the slugger is reevaluated. La Russa did say that Pujols had “good strength” in his wrist during initial tests.

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.