White Sox tab Chris Sale as Opening Day starter

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Via ESPN’s Bruce Levine, as the title suggests:

Robin Ventura names Chris Sale opening day starter.

Jake Peavy was the other candidate for the honor, but wholeheartedly endorsed sale. Peavy said, “Chris is the best pitcher on the team. Your best guy goes opening day.”

Sale, who turns 24 years old in two weeks, finished the 2012 season (his first as a starting pitcher) with a 3.05 ERA and finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting. The lefty, listed at 6’6″, 180, is said to have added 10-15 pounds over the off-season.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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).