Albert Pujols sure likes Minute Maid Park.
The veteran slugger went way deep off Astros starter Lance McCullers in the top of the first inning Tuesday night in Houston for his 36th home run of the season and the 556th home run of his illustrious 15-year major league career.
The big fly pushed Albert past Manny Ramirez for sole possession of 14th place on the all-time home run leaderboard. Watch it soar up near the train track in left …
Pujols has 50 career home runs against the Astros, the most of any player ever. And that doesn’t include some of the postseason bombs he hit against Houston during his time with the Cardinals.
Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco has been on the shelf since early August with a fracture in his left wrist. He’s been making progress on the side and recently got sent to the club’s spring training complex in Clearwater, Florida to begin ramping up his rehab. But it doesn’t sound like he’ll be added back to the active roster before the end of the regular season.
Ryan Howard is also doubtful to return this season after bruising his troublesome left knee last Monday.
Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News has the news from Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, who had his interim tag removed on Tuesday afternoon …
Franco, 23, will finish his impressive rookie season with an .830 OPS and 13 home runs in 77 games. Howard, 35, is sitting on a .720 OPS and 23 home runs in 129 games.
Pablo Sandoval was running a fever over the weekend in Toronto and had to be pulled from Sunday’s series finale at Rogers Centre after experiencing lightheadedness while running the bases. He sat out Monday’s series opener against the Rays, is not in the Red Sox starting lineup Tuesday, and could be out for the remainder of this four-game set.
Via beat writer Sean McAdam of CSNNewEngland.com …
Sandoval has batted just .245/.292/.366 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI in the first year of a five-year, $95 million free agent contract. The questions have continued in Boston about his weight and lack of proper conditioning.
There’s not much left for the Athletics and Giants to play for in 2015, so this Saturday will be a celebration of the early-2000s at Oakland’s O.co Coliseum.
A’s manager Bob Melvin confirmed Tuesday that left-hander Barry Zito will start against Giants right-hander Tim Hudson on Saturday afternoon. The two were teammates in Oakland from 2000-2004 and were major players on the 2002 team that served as the primary subject of Michael Lewis’ famous book Moneyball.
Mark Mulder is also going to be in attendance.
This will be Zito’s first start at the major league level since 2013. The 37-year-old southpaw was called up from Triple-A Nashville last week after posting a 3.46 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 91/60 K/BB ratio across 138 innings (24 starts) this season in the Pacific Coast League.
Hudson, 40, has said he will retire after the 2015 campaign.
Zito will likely call it quits too.
This is going to be pretty cool.