Placido Polanco slated to begin rehab assignment Thursday

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Those injections last week much have done their job, because Placido Polanco told David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News that he expects to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Thursday.

Polanco, who’s been out since July 5 with back problems that have plagued him for much of the season, is scheduled to spend just a couple days at Triple-A and could rejoin the Phillies’ lineup as soon as Saturday or Sunday.

Returning to the lineup is one thing, but actually remaining productive while playing through the injury is something Polanco hasn’t done yet, hitting just .191 in his last 35 games before finally being shut down.

Will a couple weeks on the sidelines and some injections cure a bulging disk in his lower back? With the July 31 trade deadline coinciding almost exactly with Polanco’s scheduled return the Phillies are about to find out.

Angels’ Pujols passes Mays for 5th on homer list with No. 661

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas.

The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with two outs in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.

Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.

It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.

Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more pitchers (449).