The Marlins are shopping Yunel Escobar

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UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Rays are pursuing Escobar and that the A’s could also be in play.

7:20 PM: The Marlins acquired Yunel Escobar last month as part of the 12-player blockbuster with the Blue Jays, but he was never expected to be long for Miami, as he’s owed $5 million next season while Adeiny Hechavarria is expected to be used as the everyday shortstop. So it’s no surprise that he’s being shopped aggressively at the Winter Meetings.

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In this blog post, Frisaro notes that the A’s appear to be one of the teams in talks with the Marlins for Escobar.

Escobar is currently the second-highest paid player on the Marlins behind Ricky Nolasco, who is also considered a trade candidate. The 30-year-old batted .253/.300/.344 with nine home runs, 51 RBI and a .644 OPS in 145 games with the Blue Jays this season and was suspended five games in September for displaying a homophobic message on his eye black. His contract includes $5 million club options for 2014 and 2015.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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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).