Matt Wieters exercises $10.5 million player option

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that Matt Wieters intends to exercise his $10.5 million option for 2018.

An easy decision for Wieters, as he’s coming off a terrible 2017 at the plate and would not get anything approaching $10.5 million on the open market. Weiters was one of the worst-hitting regulars in baseball in 2017 with a .225/.288/.344 batting line. His defense, once his calling card, is not what it once was and his multiple defensive blunders in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cubs helped cost the Nationals the game.

That kinda stinks, but it’s nice to have that $10.5 million option to fall back on and, hopefully, put together a bounceback year in 2018.

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).