D-Backs CEO Derrick Hall says A.J. Pollock is “almost untouchable”

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The Braves and Diamondbacks have recently discussed potential trades involving starter Shelby Miller, but the Braves have been focused on outfielder A.J. Pollock. D-Backs CEO Derrick Hall says that teams inquire on Pollock’s availability “every time”. Hall thinks “it’s almost time to send a message that A.J. is off limits,” as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. “I think it’s safe to categorize him as almost untouchable,” Hall said.

Pollock had an outstanding 2015 season, batting .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 39 stolen bases while playing above-average defense in the outfield. His 7.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, ranked 10th in baseball. FanGraphs put him at 6.6 WAR, the eighth-highest mark among qualified position players.

Perhaps the most appealing thing about Pollock, however, is his contract status. He is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility and won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season. Rather than trade Pollock, the Diamondbacks might instead pursue a contract extension.

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).