Rays acquire Ryan Schimpf from Padres

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The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired infielder Ryan Schimpf from the San Diego Padres for infielder Deion Tansel.

This is about as minor a deal as there can be, but we’ll take what we can get at a slow Winter Meetings. But it may have at least some minor connection to bigger deals, both completed or rumored.

Schimpf hit just .158 with a .284 on-base percentage in 53 games with the Padres this past season, but he has some power, having hit 14 homers and posted a .424 slugging percentage. With Chase Headley back in San Diego there is less of a chance for him to play now. With the Rays being rumored to be shopping Evan Longoria, he could provide at least some bare minimum insurance for that potential vacancy.

Tansel, 23, was a 32nd rounder of the Rays in 2016. He played in low-A ball last year.

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).