Don't get defensive over Red Sox's moves

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For those Red Sox fans out there grousing about Theo Epstein electing to replace Jason Bay with Mike Cameron, and Mike Lowell with Adrian Beltre (for far less money, too), remember that a run prevented is just as good as a run scored.

And with Cameron in center field pushing Jacoby Ellsbury to left, and Beltre taking over the hot corner, Epstein got himself two very nice upgrades on the defensive side of things.

Cameron covers so much ground he once literally broke his face on a horrific collision with Carlos Beltran (who also covers a lot of ground) when both were with the Mets. The play came on a ball Ellsbury and Bay wouldn’t have been close to catching.

And Beltre, for his part, can pick it and throw it like few other at third base. He is also quite adept at ranging far down the left field line and catching balls over his shoulder.

The folks at Red Sox Monster are plenty aware of Beltre’s talents, posting a video of his defensive highlights while with the Mariners. It’s a little on the lengthy side (8-plus minutes), but oh-so-impressive.

So don’t despair Boston fans. The Red Sox’s improved defense should help offset the loss of offense, and the money saved helped bring John Lackey to town. Now if Lackey’s elbow will just hold up, and if Beltre would just wear a cup …

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).