Albert Pujols was hired Monday by Major League Baseball as a special assistant to Commissioner Rob Manfred.
The retired slugger will consult on issues related to his native Dominican Republic, among other areas. He also will start work Tuesday as an MLB Network analyst.
“Albert is a highly respected figure who represents the game extraordinarily well,” Manfred said in a statement. “He cares greatly about making a difference in our communities.”
Pujols hit 703 home runs, fourth behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), and Babe Ruth (714), and his 2,218 RBIs are second to Aaron’s 2,297. Pujols hit .296 in an MLB career spanning from 2001-22 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, and Los Angeles Dodgers, and his 3,384 hits are among the top 10.
He is among several former players working for MLB. Joe Torre and CC Sabathia are special assistants, and Cal Ripken Jr. and Ken Griffey Jr. are senior advisers. MLB’s staff includes senior vice president for on-field operations Raul Ibañez; senior vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion Billy Bean; vice president for on-field strategy Joe Martinez; and baseball operations staff Gregor Blanco, Rajai Davis, Adam Jones, Dan Otero, and Bo Porter.
Mets choose youth, cut Tomás Nido
The New York Mets cut light-hitting Tomás Nido to keep catcher Francisco Álvarez in the majors as they reinstated fellow backstop Omar Narváez from the 60-day injured list.
Álvarez, the 21-year-old rookie, flourished in May and ascended to first string, taking advantage of consistent playing time and batting .292 with seven homers, 17 RBIs, and a 1.029 OPS.
Nido was on the injured list from May 7-24 with dry eye syndrome, but has made only two starts since being activated, going 1 for 5 with two strikeouts. He was a Gold Glove finalist last season and is signed through 2024 after essentially taking over the starting job from a slumping James McCann last year.
This season, however, Nido is batting a paltry .125 (7 for 56) without an extra-base hit. New York has seven days to trade or release him. Nido could also be claimed by another team — or accept an outright assignment to the minors with the Mets if he clears waivers.
With the 31-year-old Narváez — an All-Star in 2021 with Milwaukee — ready to return from a strained left calf, New York could have optioned Álvarez back to Triple A and kept all three catchers on the 40-man roster. More likely, there was thought the Mets might carry them all in the big leagues and give at-bats to Álvarez at designated hitter. That would have cut into playing time for several veterans, however, along with fellow youngster Mark Vientos.
Despite a record $355 million payroll, the Mets are 30-30 and third in the NL East, 5½ games behind the first-place Braves. They open a three-game series in Atlanta on Tuesday night.
Michael Soroka comeback hits snag, sent back to Triple A by Braves
Atlanta righthander Michael Soroka, who posted an 8.38 ERA in two starts in his comeback from two right Achilles tendon tears, was optioned to Triple A.
The move came after Soroka allowed five runs and seven hits in 3⅔ innings in Atlanta’s 8-5 win at Arizona on Sunday. All of Soroka’s runs allowed came with two outs. After the game, he said: “That’s not quite me.”
Soroka, an All-Star as a rookie in 2019, was Atlanta’s opening day starter in 2020 before suffering his first Achilles tendon tear early in the season. He needed a follow-up procedure before suffering a second tear in 2021. The Braves didn’t immediately announce who will replace Soroka in the rotation.
Luis Urías returns for Milwaukee
Milwaukee Brewers infielder Luis Urías has been activated from the injured list, more than two months after the starting third baseman strained his left hamstring on opening day. The Brewers activated Urías while also announcing first baseman Darin Ruf has a right patella fracture, suffered Friday when he ran into a tarp while chasing a foul ball. The Brewers transferred Ruf from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day, and optioned infielder Mike Brosseau to Triple A . . . St. Louis Cardinals righthander Leonardo Taveras was suspended for 80 games and Los Angeles Angels righthander Darlin Francia for 56 games after positive performance-enhancing drug tests under baseball’s minor league program. Eight players have been disciplined under the program this year.