Report: Brewers, Braves, Astros discussed three-way trade involving Jonathan Lucroy last month

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In a column for USA Today on Wednesday, Bob Nightengale mentioned that the Brewers, Braves, and Astros were discussing a three-way trade which would have moved catcher Jonathan Lucroy, likely to the Astros. The deal never materialized, obviously.

The rebuilding Brewers have made no secret that they would trade Lucroy for the right return, but Nightengale writes that the Brewers have “attached an exorbitant price tag” on the backstop. Lucroy, who turns 30 years old in June, battled injuries last year and hit a mediocre .264/.326/.391 with seven home runs and 43 RBI in 415 plate appearances. However, he had been one of baseball’s best-hitting catchers over the three previous seasons and finished fourth in National League Most Valuable Player Award balloting in 2014.

Lucroy will earn $4 million this season in what is likely the final year of his contract, at least with the Brewers. He has a $5.25 million club option for the 2017 season with a $250,000 buyout.

The Rangers and Nationals had been reported as interested in Lucroy prior to the start of spring training. We’ll likely hear more trade chatter towards the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Lucroy has a limited no-trade clause with which he can reject a trade to eight teams.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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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).