Rangers sign manager Ron Washington to two-year contract

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Shortly after the World Series ended Rangers general manager Jon Daniels announced that signing manager Ron Washington to a new contract was the team’s first offseason priority and sure enough the two sides agreed to a deal today.

Washington gets a two-year contract after leading the Rangers to their first playoff appearance since 1999 and first World Series in franchise history.

He has a 331-317 overall record since taking over for Buck Showalter in 2007, improving the team’s win total in each of the past three years.

Washington drew criticism for his in-game tactics at various points in the playoffs, but Rangers players have constantly praised his enthusiastic demeanor and loose clubhouse. No word yet on if ‘Lil Wash also gets a contract extension.

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).