Nationals are close to re-signing Howie Kendrick

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Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals are “closing in” on re-signing Howie Kendrick. It’ll be a one-year, $6.25 million deal with a mutual option for 2021.

Kendrick hit .344/.395/.572 with 17 home runs over 370 plate appearances for the Nationals this past season and had multiple big moments during the Nats’ World Series run. Given that, his defensive versatility, and the fact that there are multiple current openings on the Washington roster at the moment due to guys hitting free agency, it makes all the sense in the world to bring him back.

Kendrick is unlikely to repeat his offensive performance from last year in 2020, but even if he hits way less than he did, he’s still a very useful player for Washington as they seek to defend their title.

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).