Darwin Barney out for opener because of gashed knee

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As first reported by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney has been ruled out for the first game of the regular season — Monday vs. the Pirates — due to a deep cut on his left knee that required five stitches.

Barney suffered the gash Saturday during an exhibition game in Houston while trying to track down a foul pop-up along the first-base boundary wall. There’s a chance he could be placed on the disabled list. Brent Lillibridge is expected to fill in.

Barney registered a weak .254/.299/.354 batting line across 588 plate appearances last season for Chicago, but the 27-year-old won Gold Glove honors for his excellent defense at second base.

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).