Giants plan to pick up Nori Aoki’s $5.5 million option

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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Giants are planning to pick up Nori Aoki‘s $5.5 million option for the 2016 season. That, of course, will be the case as long as Aoki makes progress from the concussion he suffered when he was hit in the head by a Jake Arrieta pitch in August.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, finished the season with a .287/.353/.380 triple-slash line, five home runs, 26 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 392 plate appearances. He last started a game on August 31, making only two pinch-hit appearances in early September before the Giants shut him down for the remainder of the 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).