Carlos Beltran won’t visit White House with Houston Astros

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Just after the World Series, the Houston Astros announced that, yes, they will visit the White House if invited to honor their World Series championship. As expected, however, at least one member of the club will not go: Carlos Beltran.

Beltran said that it was a matter of wanting to spend time with his family and wasn’t about President Trump or politics specifically, but folks can be forgiven if they don’t buy that entirely given that Beltran has been vocally critical of the administration’s hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Here was Beltran yesterday, talking about that disappointment:

“There’s no doubt that I’m disappointed. I’m not the only one. There’s a lot of people disappointed. We haven’t (gotten) some benefits. Being part of the United States, you expect to at least get the same benefits when tragedies like this happen. The fact that we haven’t (gotten) those, yeah, it’s a disappointment.”

Beltran may not be the only Astros player not to make the trip to the White House. Just after the World Series third baseman Alex Bregman said he’d follow whatever two of his teammates decide, saying “I’m going to do whatever Carlos Beltranand Carlos Correa do.” Correa is not yet on the record, but it would not be at all surprising if he, a Puerto Rican native like Beltran, did not follow Beltran’s lead for similar reasons. Bregman, for his part, has been sharply critical of Trump in the past on other matters.

Earlier this week, multiple members of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, including Chris Long, Malcom Jenkins Torrey Smith said they’d skip their team’s White House visit as well. Long, along with two dozen other players, also skipped the visit last year when he was a member of the Patriots.

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).