Mark Buehrle “will either retire or pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals”

Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP
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Mark Buehrle shot down the early-October reports that he was planning to retire this winter, but the veteran free agent starter only has eyes for one club. Via Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun

Buehrle will either retire or pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals, his home town team.

Buehrle grew up in St. Charles, a western suburb of St. Louis, and he’s been linked to the Cardinals in both free agent and trade rumors throughout his 16-year major league career. Lance Lynn undergoing Tommy John surgery last week suddenly makes it a pretty perfect fit.

Buehrle, 36, registered a 3.81 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 198 2/3 innings this past season for the American League East-champion Blue Jays. It was the first time he had fallen short of the 200-inning mark since 2000.

Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, and Jaime Garcia are currently locked into rotation spots for the Cardinals for 2016. Top pitching prospect Alex Reyes was busted for marijuana use earlier this month.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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).