Stephen Strasburg had a fibrolipoma removed from his back

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg underwent a minor procedure last month which removed a non-cancerous growth in his back. At the Nationals’ Winterfest event on Saturday, Strasburg said that growth was a fibrolipoma, essentially a benign tumor, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Doctors told the right-hander that the fibrolipoma has “pretty much a zero percent chance of coming back.”

Strasburg was bothered by back issues throughout the 2015 season, as the growth affected his mechanics. Still, in 23 starts, he managed to put up a 3.46 ERA with a 155/26 K/BB ratio over 127 1/3 innings.

There was some thought that the Nationals would consider trading Strasburg, who is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility. He can become a free agent after the 2016 season.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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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).