Albert Pujols hit his 400th home run Thursday night, becoming the 47th major league player to reach the milestone.
The St. Louis Cardinals slugger led off the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals by sending an 0-1 fastball from starter Jordan Zimmermann into the right-center seats at Nationals Park in Washington.
At 30 years, 222 days, Pujols became the third-youngest player to reach 400 homers. Alex Rodriguez hit No. 400 at 29 years, 316 days, and Ken Griffey Jr. reached the benchmark at 30 years, 141 days.
Pujols’ drive broke a three-way tie with Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga for 47th place on baseball’s career list.
As soon as he completed his swing, Pujols stood and admired the shot. He was mobbed by teammates when he returned to the dugout after cutting the Nationals’ lead to 3-2.
Padres’ Young recovering
Padres right-hander Chris Young threw another simulated game Thursday, and a rehab assignment might be next as he continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury.
Motivated by San Diego’s run atop the N.L. West, the 6-foot-10 Young hopes to pitch again this season. He made one start before going on the disabled list April 12 with a strained shoulder. He underwent surgery on the shoulder a year ago.
“It’s definitely my goal, not just to pitch, but to be successful and win,” said Young, who’s had a serious injury for three straight seasons. “It would be easy to shut it down and say I’ll strengthen it and worry about pitching later, but that’s not the case. I want to pitch, I want to win, I want to help this team make a strong run here.”
Young threw 55 pitches over three innings before the Padres hosted the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks in a series finale.
“It felt better as I went,” he said. “It’s nice to focus on how I feel and stuff versus what my arm’s doing.”
Hector Rondon, one of the Cleveland Indians’ top pitching prospects, has undergone reconstructive Tommy John elbow surgery.
The team announced that the hard-throwing right-hander had the operation on Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala., by Dr. James Andrews.
“Hector was one of the players that if the injury didn’t happen and he had developed that we likely would have taken a look at in September,” Indians manager Manny Acta said Thursday.
Rondon, a 22-year-old who was the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2009, went 1-3 with a 8.53 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Columbus.
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