Padres expected to sign Christian Friedrich

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Padres are expected to sign pitcher Christian Friedrich to a minor league deal, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Times reports. Lin noted that Friedrich was in Padres camp on Thursday, but that the deal wasn’t yet official.

Friedrich has had an interesting offseason. The Rockies designated him for assignment at the end of January.The Angels claimed him off waivers about a week later, but returned him to the Rockies two weeks after that because of concerns over the lefty’s medical evaluations. Upon return, the Rockies released Friedrich.

Friedrich, 28, was once a top prospect in the Rockies’ system, earning #22 overall honors from Baseball Prospectus and #33 from Baseball America going into the 2010 season. Unfortunately, over 167 1/3 innings in the majors, Friedrich has a 5.81 ERA with a 146/65 K/BB ratio.

The Padres also signed Matt Thornton to a minor league deal on Thursday, and Friedrich will likely join him in the battle for a spot in the club’s bullpen.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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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).