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Johan Santana throws first no-hitter in Mets’ history

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UPDATE: He did it! Johan Santana has done it. He has thrown the first no-hitter in Mets’ history. Unbelievable.

9:31 PM: Santana has now held the Cardinals hitless through eight innings.

He got Tyler Greene to pop up to Kirk Nieuwenhuis for the first out and struck out Shane Robinson looking before issuing a two-out walk to Rafael Furcal. Mets manager Terry Collins came out to the mound to check his temperature, but he was able to get Carlos Beltran to pop out for the final out of the top of the eighth.

Santana is the first Met since Tom Seaver to complete eight no-hit innings. He’s now at 122 pitches. Any way he doesn’t get a chance to finish this one off?

Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and David Freese are due to bat for the Cardinals in the top of the ninth.

9:15 PM: Santana dropped down a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the seventh inning, so it appears he will get a chance to pitch the eighth inning.

9:12 PM: The Mets have never had a no-hitter in their history, but Johan Santana is trying to change that.

Santana has held the Cardinals hitless over the first seven innings tonight. The Mets currently lead the ballgame 5-0.

Santana has walked four and stuck out six while throwing 107 pitches. He hasn’t thrown more than 108 pitches (May 5 against the Diamondbacks) since returning from shoulder surgery, so he’ll be going into uncharted territory in order to get a chance to finish this one off.

Santana nearly lost the no-no in the top of the seventh when Yadier Molina lifted a fly ball near the warning track in left field, but Mike Baxter was able to make a tremendous running catch before slamming into the wall. He left the game with an apparent injury to his left arm. If the Mets do this, Baxter will never have to buy a drink in New York for the rest of his life.

There will be some controversy if the Mets finish this one off, as third base umpire Adrian Johnson botched a call on a Carlos Beltran liner in the top of the sixth inning. Beltran hit a would-be double down the third base line, but Johnson called the ball foul. He continued the at-bat and eventually grounded out. The missed call could eventually become a part of franchise lure.

Stay tuned to see if the Mets will make history.

Angels’ Pujols has foot surgery, could be sidelined 4 months

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot Friday, possibly sidelining him past opening day.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Pujols had the procedure Friday in North Carolina to release his plantar fascia, the ligament connecting the heel to the toes. The three-time NL MVP was bothered by plantar fasciitis repeatedly during the season, but played through the pain in arguably the strongest year of his half-decade with the Angels.

Eppler said the surgery typically prevents players from participating in baseball activities for three months, along with another month before they’re ready to resume playing in games. Opening day for Los Angeles is April 3, and the Angels hope Pujols can be ready.

“He’s at that point in his career where he’s keenly aware of what’s happening with his body,” Eppler said in a phone interview. “I don’t put the timetable on Albert like you would with your younger players. We’ll just see in Albert’s case, as he progresses, what his timetable is.”

Pujols, who turns 37 next month, batted .268 last year with 31 homers and 119 RBIs, the fourth-most in the majors – although his .780 OPS was among the worst of his career. He largely served as a designated hitter instead of playing first base due to problems with his hamstrings and feet.

Pujols heads into 2017 with 591 career homers, ranking him ninth in major league history. He is 18 homers behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place.

After playing in pain until the final week of the Angels’ disappointing season, Pujols began shock wave therapy on his foot early in the offseason, believing he wouldn’t need surgery.

But Pujols’ foot became more painful in recent weeks despite the therapy, and he huddled with the Angels’ top brass to decide on surgery after his most recent trip to see Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina. Continuing with conservative care would have required 10 more weeks, forcing Pujols to miss the first half of the 2017 season if he still required surgery.

“He just felt that the pain had gotten to a point where he was comfortable” having surgery, Eppler said. “If we did delay it, you’re just looking at 2 1/2 more months into the season.”

Pujols had a different type of surgery on his right foot last winter, but recovered in time for opening day. He also had plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2013 season, eventually forcing him out for the year when his fascia snapped.

Pujols has five years and $140 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that pried him out of St. Louis, where he won two World Series and became a nine-time NL All-Star.

The Angels haven’t won a playoff game since Pujols’ arrival and Mike Trout‘s concurrent emergence as one of baseball’s best players. They went 74-88 last season, the injury-plagued club’s worst record since 1999.

Diamondbacks hire Mike Fitzgerald to head Research and Development department

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Mike Hazen, new Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Red Sox, addresses the media during a press conference to announce his promotion before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on September 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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According to an official announcement, the Diamondbacks have acquired former Pirates quantitative analyst Mike Fitzgerald as their new Director of Research and Development.

Fitzgerald joined the Pirates’ front office in 2012, where he frequently accompanied the team on the road to help breach the divide between analytics and the clubhouse. According to a profile written by Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh in 2014, Fitzgerald’s multifaceted approach brought balance and perspective to the organization, whether he was assisting coaches in making statistically sound decisions, optimizing the batting order, weighing in on scouting and personnel decisions, developing more effective defensive positioning, or keeping players and personnel appraised of the latest developments in sabermetrics.

In the wake of Fitzgerald’s departure, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington praised the Diamondbacks for a smart acquisition and said that the club has every intention of finding a replacement analyst, albeit one who will have some big shoes to fill.