Stephen Strasburg returns from disabled list, Nationals send Joe Ross back to minors

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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is off the disabled list after missing the past three weeks with a strained trapezius muscle.

He moves back into the starting rotation tonight against Atlanta and Washington has demoted 22-year-old prospect Joe Ross back to the minors despite a very impressive three-start debut in which he threw 20 innings with a 2.66 ERA and 23/2 K/BB ratio.

Strasburg was a mess before going on the DL, posting a 6.55 ERA in 10 starts while allowing opponents to hit .325 off him. His secondary numbers were better–including a 45/14 K/BB ratio in 45 innings–but still well below his usual lofty standards, leaving him as a big question mark.

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).