Aramis Ramirez backloaded his contract to help with Brewers’ payroll crunch

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Francisco Rodriguez accepting arbitration from the Brewers stretched their payroll to the limit, so Aramis Ramirez’s three-year, $36 million deal is heavily backloaded.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Ramirez will get just $6 million in 2012, leaving $30 million to paid for the other two seasons, and $6 million of his 2014 salary will be deferred.

Ramirez’s backloaded deal likely still doesn’t clear enough payroll space for the Brewers to sign a veteran first baseman or more bullpen help, as general manager Doug Melvin indicated yesterday that the team is already over budget. However, that could change if they find a taker for Rodriguez and his salary that figures to be at least $12 million.

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).