Jonathan Papelbon wants to close so he can get Mariano Rivera’s saves record

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No, it has nothing to do with his $13 million vesting option based on games finished that has Jonathan Papelbon wanting to remain a closer. It’s *bad guy from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” voice* History:

Let’s see: Papelbon is 34 and has 342 saves in 11 seasons. Mariano Rivera finished with 652. Let’s be generous and say Papelbon finishes the year with 35 saves. Unlikely, but give the kid a break. That would mean he’d need around 30 saves a year for the next decade to break Rivera’s record.

Is it possible Papelbon lasts until his mid-40s and remains a top closer for 22 seasons or so? I suppose anything is possible. But it’s highly unlikely, even if Papelbon is one of the more underrated closers from a historical perspective.

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).