Rangers “close to getting” Phillies ace Cole Hamels

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UPDATED, 10:28 PM ET: OK, it’s Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to the Rangers for prospects Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jake Thompson, and Jerad Eickhoff. Philly will also get 29-year-old left-handed starter Matt Harrison. Larger writeup to come.

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10:17 PM ET: FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi adds that outfield prospect Nick Williams is going to the Phillies as well. And there are others involved.

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10:12 PM ET: Philly will get 25-year-old minor league starter Jerad Eickhoff and 22-year-old catching prospect Jorge Alfaro, per Sullivan. That won’t be all.

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10:08 PM ET: Sullivan now says the trade will go down tonight. It’s in the “final stages.” Hamels declined to talk in the Phillies’ clubhouse.

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9:47 PM ET: MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers are “getting close to getting Hamels” and expect to have everything finalized Thursday. Other reporters are hearing the same.

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6:17 PM ET: The latest on the Cole Hamels …

Bob Nightengale of USA Today hears the Rangers are “now clear-cut favorites” to land the Phillies ace because the Dodgers prefer David Price and the Tigers have now made it known that they’re going to sell off some major parts. There’s been talk of the Astros making a big push for Hamels, but Hamels can block a trade there and Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle was told that the Astros’ front office is expecting him to land elsewhere. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday afternoon that the Giants are “fading” from the Hamels chase.

So it sounds like it’s all coming together for the Rangers, who currently stand 4 1/2 games back of the second American League Wild Card spot. Hamels is under contract through 2019 — at a pretty reasonable rate — so this trade wouldn’t just be about 2015.

Hamels, 31, owns a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings this season for Philadelphia. He threw a no-hitter in his last turn through the rotation Saturday against the Cubs.

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).