Carlos Quentin cleared for live batting practice

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Carlos Quentin is far enough along in his recovery from March 19 knee surgery that he’s been cleared for live batting practice.

Quentin was initially given a 4-6 week return timetable and won’t be ready to return by the time he’s eligible to come off the disabled list on April 18, but manager Bud Black told Corey Brock of MLB.com that a minor-league rehab assignment isn’t far off if setbacks can be avoided.

Quentin was acquired from the White Sox for a pair of prospects in December and moving from power-inflating U.S. Cellular Field to pitcher’s haven Petco Park figures to drag down his raw numbers, but the Padres can definitely use his right-handed thump in the lineup. He averaged 33 homers per 150 games for the White Sox and they’ve been platooning Chris Denorfia and Will Venable in right field while playing Jesus Guzman everyday in left field in Quentin’s absence.

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.