Grant Balfour’s contract with the Orioles was nixed over a disputed issue with his shoulder, but that messy situation isn’t scaring off one of his former teams. According to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, the Rays “are in” on the All-Star closer.
The Rays are somewhat of a logical fit at this point, as they are in the market for a closer and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Rays team physician Koco Eaton performed an MRI on Balfour’s shoulder yesterday and was surprised that the Orioles backed out of the deal. With the market starting to shrink for closers, they could be able to get him for a discount rate. And hey, Balfour would get a chance to see a lot of the Orioles if he pitches in the American League East.
Balfour previously pitched for the Rays from 2007-2010, posting a 3.33 ERA in 203 appearances as a set-up man. It was there that he enjoyed his first real success in the majors.
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).