Cox says Pujols should make $50 million per season

Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox has an idea of how much St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols should get in his next contract: $50 million a year.

“At least,” Cox said without a hint of sarcasm or exaggeration.

Cox saw that Philadelphia star Ryan Howard got a five-year extension worth $125 million on Monday.

Cox says Pujols is twice as good as any player in the majors.

Pujols is in the final year of a seven-year, $100 million contract with St. Louis. The Cardinals have a $16 million option on the three-time NL MVP for next season.

“I’m sure the Cardinals will do everything they possibly can (to extend his contract,” Cox said. “I don’t know how you pay a guy like Pujols. He’s the best. Let’s put it that way.”

Pujols is hitting .325 with seven home runs and 18 RBI this year.

Rays’ catcher suspended

Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro began serving a two-game suspension Tuesday for bumping an umpire during an argument.

Bob Watson, baseball’s vice president for discipline, issued the suspension Tuesday. Navarro did not appeal and also will sit out today’s finale of a two-game series against Oakland at Tropicana Field.

“Two games, get it over with. It’s still early in the season. I don’t want to be dealing with none of this stuff,” Navarro said. “Let these two days pass and get back on track and try to keep helping the team win.”

Navarro was ejected by plate umpire Dan Bellino during the sixth inning of Friday’s game against Toronto for arguing a pitch to Adam Lind that was called a ball. Replays appeared to show the call was correct and Navarro made contact with Bellino.

Navarro said he did not believe the suspension was too severe.

“No. I was stupid. I acted unprofessionally. This is the price that I’ve got to pay,” he said.

Rangers put Cruz on DL

Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz was put on the 15-day disabled list after he reaggravated his strained right hamstring.

Manager Ron Washington said Cruz had “only a first-degree strain” but was very sore. Washington said the slugger was going to have to miss at least five to seven games, and the DL move was made because the Rangers couldn’t afford to be short on the bench that long.

Short hops

Colorado put starting pitchers Jorge De La Rosa (finger) and Jason Hammel (groin) on the 15-day disabled list and sent struggling catcher Chris Iannetta to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Hammel, a former standout at South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard, is 0-2 with a 9.16 ERA. … Oakland placed left-hander Brett Anderson on the 15-day disabled list with a left forearm strain and elbow inflammation. … Milwaukee Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker, a former player and TV star, is scheduled to undergo heart surgery Friday and is expected to need two to three months to recover. … St. Louis catcher Jason LaRue was activated from the 15-day disabled list after recovering from a right hamstring injury. … Boston minor league prospect Ryan Westmoreland has been released from a rehabilitation hospital more than a month after brain surgery. … Cleveland closer Kerry Wood threw 35 pitches during a bullpen session as he recovers from an upper back injury that has kept him sidelined since March 10. … Top prospect Stephen Strasburg pitched five no-hit innings in his fourth professional start and drove in the game’s only run as the Double-A Harrisburg Senators beat Reading, 1-0.