Daniel Murphy expected to return to Mets next Tuesday

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Good news here for the battered Mets infield …

According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday that Daniel Murphy is on track to be activated from the disabled list next Tuesday. Murphy is eligible to return Saturday, but the Mets want him to play in a few minor league rehab games before they activate him. He’s currently participating in extended spring training exhibition games in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Murphy has been on the disabled list since June 5 because of a strained right quadriceps muscle. He is expected to play third base when he returns, with Dilson Herrera sticking at second.

David Wright isn’t due to return from his back injury until after the All-Star break.

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).