Paul Maholm willing to pitch out of the bullpen if necessary

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The Dodgers made a depth signing when they agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal Saturday evening. With Dan Haren suffering from back and shoulder issues over the past two seasons, and with Josh Beckett working his way back from shoulder surgery last July, the Dodgers needed a fallback option in the event either or both of Haren and Beckett could not participate. Not to be forgotten, Chad Billingsley won’t be ready to come off of the disabled list until mid-season by most estimates.

Per Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, Maholm understands he may be asked to pitch in relief. However, the lefty intends to earn the #5 spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation.

“I’m going to come in and compete,” Maholm said. “If I pitch well, then things will work out.”

The Dodgers, perhaps more than any other team, understand the value of pitching depth. They entered the 2013 season with a surfeit of starting pitching and were rumored to be shopping at least two starters — Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly, namely — towards the end of spring training. But Billingsley could only make two starts; Lilly made five starts and Beckett made eight. They traded for Ricky Nolasco in early July. He was one of 11 pitchers to make at least one start for the Dodgers.

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.