Rays “close” to signing reliever Ryan Webb

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Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Rays are “close” to signing right-hander Ryan Webb to a major-league contract.

Webb spent last season with the Indians, logging 51 innings with a 3.20 ERA and 31/12 K/BB ratio after joining the team on a minor-league deal. At age 30 he’s got a career ERA of 3.35 in seven seasons spent with the Indians, Padres, Orioles, and Marlins.

Webb has basically been a setup-caliber reliever for his entire career, so he could be a nice under-the-radar pickup for a Rays team that’s been said to be looking for bullpen depth.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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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).