Cardinals call up Mark Hamilton to help replace Albert Pujols

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It remains to be seen how manager Tony La Russa will actually choose to replace Albert Pujols in the lineup, but he’ll at least have the option of using Mark Hamilton after the Cardinals called the 26-year-old first baseman up from Triple-A today.

Hamilton has struggled previously in a couple brief stints with the Cardinals, but was hitting .385 with more walks (23) than strikeouts (14) in 27 games at Triple-A after batting .298 with 18 homers and a .974 OPS in 72 games there last season.

He’s old for a prospect and doesn’t project as a star, but Hamilton is a solid left-handed bat with some power and plate discipline. He can’t replace Pujols, but if La Russa uses Hamilton as a platoon starter versus primarily right-handed pitchers he can be productive for the next six weeks.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.