Rangers, Ryan Rua avoid arbitration

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Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that the Rangers and 1B/OF Ryan Rua have avoided arbitration, agreeing on an $870,000 salary for the 2018 season. Rua was eligible for arbitration for the first of four seasons.

Rua, 27, hit .217/.294/.333 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 144 plate appearances last season. He has been underwhelming offensively since debuting in 2014. His roster spot is anything but cemented, so he’ll vie for a spot on the Rangers’ bench in spring training.

The Rangers’ other arbitration-eligible players include pitchers Keone Kela and Jake Diekman, and infielder Jurickson Profar.

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).