Reunion time: Wandy Rodriguez is back with the Astros


Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who came up with the Astros in 2005 and pitched in Houston through mid-2012, is back with his original team on a minor-league deal. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes says the contract includes an invitation to spring training, where Rodriguez will try to win an Opening Day roster spot at age 37.

Rodriguez pitched decently for the Rangers last season, logging 86 innings with a 4.90 ERA and 72/36 K/BB ratio, and also spent time at Triple-A for the Royals. He posted a sub-4.00 ERA every season from 2008-2013, quietly ranking as one of the most effective left-handers in baseball, but at this point he’s strictly a depth signing.

This could be the end of the line for Rodriguez if he doesn’t make the team out of spring training, so it’s somewhat fitting that he’s back where his career started.

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).