Byung Ho Park was a two-time MVP and four-time home run champion in Korea and went deep Sunday for the first time since signing with the Twins, smacking a grand slam to left-center field off Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi.
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Minnesota paid $12.85 million for Park’s exclusive negotiating rights and then signed him to a four-year, $12 million deal. He’s slated to be the Twins’ starting designated hitter and, eventually, a middle-of-the-lineup power source.
Because of a high strikeout rate Park may struggle to maintain a strong batting average for the Twins, but everyone seems to agree that his power potential is for real. Last season in Korea he hit .343 with 53 homers and a 1.150 OPS in 140 games for his second straight 50-homer season and third straight year with an OPS above 1.000.
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).