Albert Pujols finally hits first homer for Angels

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In his third at-bat Sunday and 111th at-bat of the season, Albert Pujols finally broke his career-long homer drought, connecting on a two-run shot off Blue Jays rookie Drew Hutchinson that gave the Angels a 4-2 lead in the fifth.

The Halos went on to win 4-3.

Pujols’ average had been down to .191 before the blast. He finished 1-for-4, putting him at .196. It’s the first time this season that he’s had a multi-RBI game.

Now that Pujols is finally on the board, it’s time for him to start making up ground.

Pujols homered once every 14.2 at-bats during his Cardinals career. His season averages in his 11 years in St. Louis were 40 homers in 574 at-bats. To get to that point this year, he’d have to hit 39 homers in 463 at-bats, an average of one homer every 11.9 at-bats. That’s a rate he’s maintained just once over a full season in his career, when he hit 49 homers in 535 at-bats in 2006.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.