Aaron Sanchez wants to return to the starting rotation

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Aaron Sanchez wants to return to the Blue Jays’ starting rotation, per Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet Magazine. The right-hander has been working with the same trainers who directed teammate Marcus Stroman‘s knee rehab to work towards that goal.

Sanchez, 23, started out the season in the rotation and posted a 3.55 ERA over 11 starts, but moved to the bullpen shortly after the All-Star break. Across 30 appearances spanning 26 1/3 innings, he posted a 2.39 ERA with a 19/7 K/BB ratio.

The Blue Jays acquired reliever Drew Storen from the Nationals in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere on Friday night, so the back of the bullpen is rather formidable. The Jays may also create an opening in the rotation as they are reportedly discussing R.A. Dickey with at least one team.

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).