Brandon Belt will play winter ball in the Dominican Republic

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Brandon Belt will play winter ball in the Dominican Republic despite initially not being very excited about the possibility, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.

Belt was apparently convinced it would be a good thing following a conversation with manager Bruce Bochy, saying: “After talking with him, I really think it’s going to make me a better player.”

It’ll also give Belt a chance for some regular playing time after the Giants have repeatedly refused to make the 23-year-old top prospect an everyday player.

He’s hit just .217 with a .714 OPS in 29 games since returning to the majors in mid-July and with Aubrey Huff under contract for $10 million next season (and $10 million or a $2 million buyout for 2013) Belt may want to work on his outfield defense as much as his hitting.

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.