Blue Jays sign Nick Tepesch to a minor-league deal

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Free agent right-hander Nick Tepesch has a minor league deal with the Blue Jays, per a team announcement on Saturday. The deal does not include an invitation to spring training.

Tepesch, 29, was originally acquired by the Blue Jays when the Twins dealt him for cash considerations last July. He made just three starts with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.14 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 4.5 SO/9 over 14 innings. While he looked a little better in Triple-A Buffalo, he has yet to prove himself as a viable starter in the big leagues. The righty hasn’t seen a full major league season since 2014, due in part to a prolonged recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome in 2015.

Whether he’ll get there anytime soon is unclear, but the Blue Jays don’t appear to have big plans for him either way. Tepesch will likely slot in behind right-hander Joe Biagini as rotation depth, should injuries continue to trouble the team’s projected top five starters: Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada and Jaime Garcia.

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).