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Angels place Albert Pujols on 10-day disabled list with knee inflammation

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Just one day after tying Ken Griffey, Jr. on the all-time home run list, Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols has landed on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his left knee. It’s not clear exactly when the injury developed or how long Pujols will be sidelined, though it seems likely that he’ll rejoin the team soon after the All-Star break next week.

The 38-year-old hitter hasn’t paid a visit to the disabled list since 2013. He’s currently batting at a clip of .251/.291/.432 with 16 home runs and a .723 OPS through his first 268 plate appearances. As the Angels are currently slated to face the Dodgers during their last pre- All-Star Break series, they’ll be able to spare their DH for a few days while they keep an eye on his condition.

In corresponding moves, the team optioned outfielder Michael Hermosillo to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled fellow outfielder Jabari Blash and first baseman Jose Fernandez. While Blash didn’t make much of his major league call-up earlier this season, his Triple-A numbers are impressive: a .327/.438/.755 batting line, 23 home runs, and a 1.193 OPS in 249 PA. Fernandez, likewise, left behind a .333 average and 11 homers in Salt Lake, and will try to replicate those numbers as he plays backup to Jefry Marte at first base.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.