Yankees release Juan Rivera, will keep Lyle Overbay

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It’s not a good sign when a team that’s wrecked by injuries and looking everywhere for lineup help decides you’re not worth keeping around, but that’s exactly what just happened to Juan Rivera.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Yankees have released Rivera, who signed a minor-league contract in late January.

New York has added Brennan Boesch, Vernon Wells, and Lyle Overbay since signing Rivera, but there was still a place for him if they thought he could hit. At age 34 that’s in serious question, as Rivera batted just .244 with a .661 OPS in 109 games for the Dodgers last season and hasn’t topped a .750 OPS since 2009.

Overbay looks likely to be the Opening Day first baseman now, being handed the starting job three days after signing with the Yankees.

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).