Angels return Christian Friedrich to the Rockies

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MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports that the Angels have returned pitcher Christian Friedrich to the Rockies due to an issue with his health. The Angels’ full statement, per Gonzalez:

The Angels claimed Friedrich on February 5, a week after the Rockies designated the lefty for assignment. To make room on the roster for Friedrich, the Angels designated infielder Taylor Featherston for assignment and he was later traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash considerations, so the Angels lost a player making the gamble.

Friedrich, 28, was once a top prospect in the Rockies’ system, earning a #22 overall rating from Baseball Prospectus and #33 from Baseball America going into the 2010 season. He has struggled in 167 1/3 major league innings, though, as he carries a 5.81 ERA with 146 strikeouts and 65 walks. Friedrich is still a year away from arbitration.

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).