Albert Pujols Reportedly Heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers

Albert Pujols will be heading back to the field sooner than expected…

The 41-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter, a future MLB Hall of Famer, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly agreed on a major league contract, according to ESPN.

Albert Pujols

The deal, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, isn’t expected to become official until Monday, a source said.

When it does, the Dodgers will pay Pujols only the prorated portion of the major league minimum salary for the rest of the season, roughly $420,000, a sum that will be subtracted from the $30 million salary that is being paid to him by the Los Angeles Angels.

Pujols, in the last year of his 10-year, $240 million contract, was designated for assignment by the Angels on May 6 and was officially released after clearing waivers on Thursday. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts declined to comment on Pujols prior to Saturday’s game because the deal hasn’t been officially announced.

With the defending World Series champion Dodgers, Pujols is expected to be mostly used as a late-game pinch hitter. But he could also get some playing time at first base with everyday first baseman Max Muncy capable of playing second and third base.

Only 41 of Pujols’ 12,486 career regular-season plate appearances have come as a pinch hitter, but the Dodgers expect him to help a young, inexperienced bench.

His right-handed bat might also help a team that entered Saturday with a .663 OPS against left-handed pitchers, 136 points fewer than its OPS against righties. Pujols is batting only .198/.250/.372 in 92 plate appearances this season and has been a below-average hitter by park-adjusted OPS since 2017. But he owns an .878 OPS against lefties in 2021, and his .513 expected slugging percentage suggests he has also been running into some bad luck.

In 18 plate appearances under what Baseball-Reference identifies as late-and-close situations, Pujols owns a .313/.389/.500 slash line.

Pujols, who hasn’t ruled out the possibility of playing beyond 2021, ranks fifth in career homers (667), second in RBIs since they became an official stat in 1920 (2,112) and 14th in hits (3,253). He has won three National League MVP awards, two Gold Gloves and six Silver Sluggers and has been invited to 10 All-Star Games.

His first decade with the St. Louis Cardinals — consisting of a .331/.426/.624 slash line, 408 home runs and 1,230 RBIs — stands as arguably the greatest 10-year run in baseball history. In Year 11, he finished fifth in NL MVP voting and won his second World Series ring.

He becomes the fourth former MVP on the current Dodgers roster, joining Cody BellingerMookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, the Dodgers are the fourth team in MLB history to feature four former MVP winners, joining the 1978 Reds, 1982 Angels and most recently the 1996 Red Sox.

Starz Puts Comedy Based on Valdes’ “Dirty Girls Social Club” in Production

Alisa Valdes’ best-selling work is getting the Starz treatment…

Starz has put in development the female-driven comedy series Dirty Girls Social Club, based on the best-selling novel by the 47-year-old Cuban American author, journalist and film producer.

Alisa Valdes

The Dirty Girls Social Club is described as a dynamic and sexy half-hour series about six diverse professional women living in New York City who’ve known each other since college. Ten years later, and through professional and personal successes, failures and heartaches, the one thing they can always count on is each other.

The Dirty Girls Social Club is a wonderful story about friendship with complex, nuanced characters,” said Starz managing director Carmi Zlotnik. “We are proud to develop a series that celebrates cultural diversity, produced by a diverse group of women.”

Ligiah Villalobos will serve as showrunner. She’ll executive produce with Anne Thomopoulos and veteran network executive Lucia Cottone.

Valdes is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of more than a dozen novels, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist and former staff writer for both the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe.

Muñoz Named a Managing Director at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Lorenza Muñoz is heading to the Academy…

The Mexican journalist/author-turned-executive has joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as its Managing Director, Membership and Awards.

Lorenza Muñoz

She’ll oversee the activities and initiatives involving the organization’s nearly 7,000 filmmakers and artists, including global membership outreach and engagement events and Academy Awards submissions, rules and voting.

She begins her new position September 3, reporting to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lorenza to our leadership team,” said Hudson. “She brings a deep passion for movies, extensive knowledge of our film industry and years of effectively working with different constituencies and community groups. Lorenza will play a key role in our efforts to develop a more internationally connected membership and to advance the global mission of this organization.”

Muñoz has held positions in public relations, community outreach, public policy and journalism, most recently serving as press and policy deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, where she oversaw media coverage, policy strategy and community outreach.

As a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times from 1994-2008, Muñoz wrote more than 1,200 stories on entertainment, business, politics and crime. During her tenure, she reported on the then-nascent independent film scene and the wave of foreign talent that was emerging as a force in Hollywood.

“I am excited and honored to begin my new role at the Academy,” said Muñoz. “I look forward to working with the members and the Academy team to promote the art of filmmaking around the world.”

Martinez Lands Multi-Episode Role on NBC’s Upcoming Series “Aquarius”

It’s the Age of Aquarius for James Martinez

The Latino actor will appear in a multi-episode arc opposite David Duchovny in NBC‘s upcoming series Aquarius.

James Martinez

The gritty 1960s drama focuses on a cop (Duchovny) who goes undercover to track Charles Manson and the Manson Family before their infamous murder spree.

Martinez, who has appeared on Low Winter Sun and Breaking Bad, will portray Ruben Salazar, a former war correspondent and a reporter with the Los Angeles Times who is threatening to expose the true identity of an LAPD detective.

Martinez plays a supporting character in the upcoming Liam Neeson-helmed feature Run All Night.

His other credits include television appearances on Intelligence, Elementary, Unforgettable and Beauty and the Beast.

Puig’s Escape-to-the-United States Story Headed to Hollywood

Yasiel Puig’s escape to America is headed to the big screen…

Brett Ratner and his RatPac Entertainment have acquired the rights to Jesse Katz’ article Escape From Cuba: Yasiel Puig’s Untold Journey to the Dodgers, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Yasiel Puig

Ratner will produce the film adaptation of the Los Angeles Times article with Beau Flynn via his FlynnPictureCo. banner.

The article, which appeared in the newspaper earlier this, chronicles the 23-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder and Los Angeles Dodgers superstar’s repeated attempts to flee his native Cuba.

Puig finally succeeded when a wealthy but shady sponsor arranged for smugglers working for one of Mexico’s murderous drug cartels to pick Puig up in a speedboat and take him to the Yucatan Peninsula. But when his backer allegedly did not immediately pay the agreed-upon fee, the smugglers held Puig captive for almost three weeks.

His trek to America ultimately ended successfully with a lucrative deal with the Major League Baseball team – but the piece also highlighted the dangers other Cubans face when trying to find a better life in the U.S.

Puig played for the Cuban national baseball team in the 2008 World Junior Baseball Championship, winning a bronze medal. He defected from Cuba in 2012, and signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers. He made his MLB debut on June 3, 2013. In 2013, Puig hit .319 in 104 games with 19 home runs, and was selected by Baseball America to its annual All-Rookie team.

“Piolín” Lending His Voice to Thanksgiving-Themed Animated Film “Free Birds”

Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo will be flying high this November…

The 40-year-old Mexican radio personality and actor lends his voice to the animated project Free Birds, which recently saw its first trailer released online.

Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo

The film centers on two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who must put aside their differences and work together to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good.

In addition to Sotelo, who was named as one of the 100 most powerful people in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times in 2006, the stellar voice cast includes Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, George Takei and Dwight Howard.

Sotelo, whose radio program Piolín por la Mañana runs weekday mornings on KSCA in Southern California, previously provided the voice of Rafa, one of the dogs in Disney‘s Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Directed by Jimmy Hayward, Free Birds is set to open nationwide in November.