Mariners’ minor league deal with Travis Ishikawa unlikely to be finalized

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Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Mariners’ minor league deal with 1B/OF Travis Ishikawainitially reported on January 16 — is likely to fizzle out. Dutton suggests that the club’s signing of Gaby Sanchez to a minor league deal might have been a factor. Sanchez signed on the 22nd.

Ishikawa, 32, played in 44 games with the Pirates and Giants, taking only 72 trips to the plate in the majors last season, putting up a paltry .607 OPS. He spent some time on the disabled list with a lower back strain as well as 39 games in the minors.

Sanchez will compete with Jesus Montero for the right to platoon with Adam Lind at first base, Dutton notes.

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).