Morton, Braves reach $20 million, 1-year deal for 2023 Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals


ATLANTA – Atlanta Braves in deal with starting pitcher Charlie Morton on a $20 million annual contract for 2023 with a $20 million club option for 2024 that does not include a buyout.

Morton, 38, is 9-6 with a 4.29 ERA in 30 starts this season. The right-hander went 14-6 with a 3.34 ERA in 33 starts to help the club win the World Series last year. The two-time All-Star has compiled a 23-12 record and a 3.80 ERA for Atlanta since the start of last season, and his 416 strikeouts are third in the NL.

The deal was reached on Friday. His contract this season is $20 million.

Morton’s 200 strikeouts this season is fifth in the NL, and he is one of only three pitchers in Atlanta franchise history to score at least 200 strikeouts in multiple seasons. Hall of Famers John Smoltz (five seasons) and Phil Nycro (three seasons) are the only ones to do so. Morton hyped Wil Myers April 14 at the start of this season, when he hit the 1,500th strikeout of his career.

Originally a 2002 third-round pick by Atlanta out of Barlow High School in Redding, Connecticut, Morton made his major league debut for the Braves in 2008.

The following year, Morton was traded to Pittsburgh in exchange for outfielder Nate McLauth and spent seven seasons with the Pirates. He moved to Philadelphia for the 2016 season before moving to Houston in 2017. He then played for Tampa Bay for two years starting in 2019.

ST. LOUIS Cardinals batter Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run by connecting with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

Pujols launched a slider from a former teammate Johan Oviedo above the Big Mac Land sign in the left field of Busch Stadium. A solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols first faced Oviedo and made the 24-year-old right-hander the 456th other pitcher he faced.

The St. Louis star hasn’t scored in a week since hitting the 699th and 700th at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch appearance.

The crowd at Bush Stadium gave the 42-year-old Pujol a long round of applause before he stepped out of the Cardinals’ dugout to raise his curtain cap.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the champion NL Central Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).