Cardinals activate Jaime Garcia from the disabled list for his season debut

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Shoulder problems have derailed Jaime Garcia in three straight seasons, but the 28-year-old left-hander is healthy (for now) and the Cardinals have activated him from the disabled list to make his 2015 debut against the Mets.

When not on the disabled list Garcia has always been effective, throwing 595 career innings with a 3.50 ERA. However, he hasn’t topped 100 innings in a season since 2012.

Garcia had one good start and one bad start while rehabbing in the minors, allowing seven runs in nine total innings at Double-A and Triple-A. It’s hard to know what to expect from him at this point, but the Cardinals can certainly use rotation help following Adam Wainwright’s season-ending injury and Garcia is being paid $9.25 million in the final guaranteed season of his contract.

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).