Scott Kazmir “felt great” after bullpen session and expects to avoid disabled list

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Two days after an MRI exam revealed no structural damage in his sore shoulder A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir took the mound Sunday for a 30-pitch bullpen session.

Kazmir told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle: “It was a little bit of relief how great everything felt after just a couple of days of rest.”

Kazmir exited last Wednesday’s start with shoulder soreness, but insisted all along that he thought it was a minor issue and the A’s avoided placing him on the disabled list in the hopes he could be fine with just one skipped turn in the rotation.

There’s no word yet on when the A’s expect him to start again, but Slusser speculates that Friday against the Red Sox could make sense. Kazmir has a 3.40 ERA in 42 starts since signing with the A’s last offseason, including a 2.93 ERA in 10 starts this year.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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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).