Mets sign A.J. Griffin to minor league deal

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The Mets have signed right-hander A.J. Griffin on a minor league deal with a major league camp invite.

Griffin, a one-time 14-game winner for the A’s before ligament and shoulder injuries derailed his career, has spent the past two seasons in Texas, where he has compiled a 5.41 ERA and a record of 13-10 in 41 games. An extreme fly ball pitcher, Griffin has been at or near the top of the home run and hit rate charts over the course of his career, which is never where you want to be.

Not that the Mets need him to be an ace. Indeed, Griffin will most likely serve as organizational depth and injury insurance, so look for him to begin the season at Triple-A Las Vegas if he accepts a minor league assignment after camp. Which, given how hitter-friendly Las Vegas is and given how homer prone Griffin is, should be pretty dang special, but I suppose it beats digging ditches.

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).