Padres are “positioning themselves as a favorite to land” Cuban infielder Hector Olivera

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The latest report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports …

The San Diego Padres are positioning themselves as a favorite to land Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, showing a willingness to spend significant money after strong-but-failed attempts to sign Cubans Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada earlier this offseason, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The market for Olivera heated up Tuesday, with the Padres considering an offer upwards of $50 million, according to sources.

Ben Badler of Baseball America reported Tuesday that the Padres have already run Olivera through a pre-signing physical, so their negotiations with the 29-year-old Cuban defector could be pretty far along. The Braves, A’s, and Dodgers are also thought to have serious interest, and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald has suggested that the Marlins could be a legitimate darkhorse.

Some initial reports had Olivera seeking a contract worth more than $70 million, but that talk has quieted since he joined a more well-known sports agency. A final sum in the $50 million range seems more realistic.

Olivera was a .323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago of Cuba’s Serie Nacional.

Angels’ Pujols passes Mays for 5th on homer list with No. 661

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas.

The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with two outs in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.

Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.

It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.

Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more pitchers (449).