Jered Weaver diagnosed with nerve tightness in neck

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After struggling to reach 80 miles per hour with his fastball Wednesday and then undergoing an MRI exam, Angels right-hander Jered Weaver has been diagnosed with what the team is calling nerve tightness in his neck.

Weaver showed a good sense of humor about the whole situation, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com: “The third homer that I watched go out kind of hurt my neck a little bit.”

However, neither Weaver nor the Angels can feel very good about his consistently declining velocity and the lack of a clear-cut reason for his issues.

I just feel like it’s neck tension that is causing me to not be able to throw the ball like I want to. I guess it’s going to kind of help to get a professional doctor to go from there.

Gonzalez reports that Weaver plans to continue throwing and is on track to be ready for the season, but his next start should make the odds of that happening much clearer and there’s no timetable for that.

Weaver had career-worst numbers across the board last season, has lost velocity on an annual basis, and is in the final year of his contract with the Angels, so the 33-year-old three-time All-Star has a lot riding on this season.

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).