Report: Red Sox showing interest in Manny Machado

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The Red Sox are the newest team to throw their hats in the ring for Orioles third baseman/slugger Manny Machado, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported Friday. There’s no reason to believe a deal is imminent, or even that the Orioles intend to work out a trade prior to the 2018 season, but the two sides reportedly kicked around the idea earlier this week.

Of course, the Red Sox are just one of eight teams reportedly interested in the 25-year-old superstar, and may have the odds stacked against them as they try to acquire one of the game’s best players from their division rivals. Morosi points out that Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and Orioles GM Dan Duquette have a prior working relationship, one that could conceivably make trade talks more palatable, but significant roadblocks still stand in the way of any potential deal.

As with all other interested parties, the Red Sox would be expected to pony up a significant return for Machado, who is scheduled to hit free agency in 2019. They lack both the pitching depth and talent the Orioles are currently seeking in a trade, however, and Rob Bradford of WEEI.com speculates that a package deal involving Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts or third baseman Rafael Devers would be somewhat far-fetched as well. While there’s no guarantee the Orioles will be motivated to finalize a deal before Opening Day rolls around, Morosi says they’ll continue to listen to offers — even the unorthodox ones — as the offseason drags on.

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).