Ray Searage would like to retire as a Pirate

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Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has one year remaining on his contract and both sides would like to continue their existing relationship if at all possible. Searage said, “I’d love to retire as a Pirate,” as Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. However, GM Neal Huntington understands that a lucrative offer could pry the pitching guru out of Pittsburgh. He went as far as to call Searage “special”.

Cook notes that the Pirates have used Searage’s tutelage as a sales pitch in bringing new pitchers to the club, including Jon Niese, Kyle Lobstein, Ryan Vogelsong, Neftali Feliz, and Juan Nicasio. Searage has previously been credited with turning around the careers of Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez, and J.A. Happ, among others. He also aided in the success of Gerrit Cole and Arquimedes Caminero.

Searage was named the interim pitching coach for the Pirates in August 2010 after the club let Joe Kerrigan go. He gained the official title of pitching coach in the following offseason. The Pirates’ staff ERA, starting with his first full season in 2011, has been: 4.04, 3.86, 3.26, 3.47, and 3.21.

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).