Report: Blue Jays have “strong interest” in Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers

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It’s no secret that the Blue Jays plan to target starting pitching in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. We all know about some of the big names like Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, Jeff Samardzija, and Scott Kazmir who are expected to be available, but here’s an under-the-radar possibility:

As opposed to Cueto, Samardzija, and Kazmir, this wouldn’t be a rental situation. Fiers is currently making the major league minimum and won’t even be arbitration-eligible for the first time until after next season. As such, Rosenthal writes that the Brewers would require multiple pieces in return.

After posting a 2.13 ERA over 10 starts and four relief appearances in 2014, the 30-year-old Fiers has a 3.79 ERA and 106/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings this season.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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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).