Indians add outfield depth by signing Will Venable

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Veteran outfielder Will Venable has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Indians that includes an invitation to spring training, giving Cleveland some much-needed outfield depth with Michael Brantley likely to begin the season on the disabled list.

Venable was a semi-regular for the Padres from 2009 through the middle of last season, hitting .252 with a solid .727 OPS in 918 games despite calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home. He struggled following a midseason trade to the Rangers last year and in general has seen his production decline in recent years, so at age 33 he’s likely best suited for a part-time role.

Once everyone is healthy the Indians are expected to use Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Abraham Almonte as their starting outfield and Rajai Davis was brought in to be the primary reserve outfielder, leaving Venable to battle with guys like Collin Cowgill for a backup gig.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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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).