Jim Leyland says Tigers re-signing Jose Valverde “has not even been discussed”

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported over the weekend that Jim Leyland “remains interested” in re-signing Jose Valverde as a “closer safety net,” but yesterday the manager pretty clearly shot that down.

“That’s not in the picture, trust me,” Leyland told Jason Beck of MLB.com. “That has not even been discussed.”

Six weeks ago Leyland said he was “totally shocked” and “heart-broken” that Valverde couldn’t find a job, but if that were true I wondered why Leyland hadn’t made the case for the Tigers to actually re-sign him. Obviously it’s possible that Leyland did make that case and general manager Dave Dombrowski simply squashed it, but in the above quote at least the manager suggests no conversation took place about Valverde coming back to Detroit.

And now Valverde isn’t even pitching in the World Baseball Classic due to “personal reasons.”

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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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).