Mets send Dilson Herrera to minors in second batch of cuts

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For a brief time it looked like the Mets might give 22-year-old prospect Dilson Herrera a chance to replace Daniel Murphy as second base, but that idea was squashed once they traded for Neil Walker. And now Herrera is headed back to the minors, as the Mets included him among 20 total players in their second round of spring training cuts today.

Herrera mostly struggled in 31 games for the Mets last season and just turned 22 earlier this month, so more seasoning in the minors isn’t a bad idea for the former top-100 prospect. On the other hand he’s hit .340 at Double-A and .327 at Triple-A while being very young for each level of competition and, had they not pulled off the deal to get Walker from the Pirates for left-hander Jon Niese, the Mets seemed ready to hand him the keys.

Walker is an impending free agent, so as of now things are set up for Herrera to spend the bulk of this season in the minors and then take over as the Mets’ starting second baseman in 2017.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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).