Anthony Rendon is off the disabled list and will make his 2015 debut for the Nationals tonight after missing the first two months of the season with knee and oblique injuries.
Rendon played mostly third base last year while finishing fifth in the MVP voting as a 24-year-old, but he’s rejoining the Nationals’ lineup as a second baseman so that they can continue to play Yunel Escobar at third base.
If healthy Rendon is a huge addition to the Nationals. He’s a plus defensive player at second base or third base and hit .287 with 21 homers and an .824 OPS in 153 games last season to rank second among NL position players in Wins Above Replacement.
Rendon’s return means much less playing time for Danny Espinosa, who’s been the Nationals’ primary second baseman and now moves back into a bench role after hitting .246 with six homers and a .767 OPS in 44 games.
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).