Blog Entry

Pujols out six weeks with fractured wrist

Posted on: June 20, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 1:35 am
Albert Pujols

By C. Trent Rosecrans and Evan Brunell

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is out four to six weeks with a non-displaced fracture of the left radius (wrist/forearm), the team announced on Monday. General manager John Mozeliak said any return prior to six weeks is unlikely, as he will be placed in a soft cast for four weeks with no activity allowed. Then he will need to work up to baseball activities and a rehab start, so mid-August appears to be the most feasible return for Pujols.

"Six weeks is a long time," manager Tony La Russa told "But the No. 1 priority is to give Albert every bit of the time so when he comes back, he's not being cautious and being pushed."

The injury was diagnosed on Monday after Pujols underwent an MRI and a CT scan. The good news is that while his left shoulder was sore, no structural damage was found.

Pujols left Sunday's game with the Royals when he collided with Wilson Betemit in the sixth inning of the victory over Kansas City.

The three-time MVP had a slow start of the season -- hitting just .245 in April and managing only a pair of homers in May -- but in June has been much more Pujols-like, hitting .317/.419/.778 with eight home runs in 17 games. For the season, he's hitting .279/.355/.500 with 17 homers.

"You can't replace a player of his magnitude and there's no words or anything I can say up here that will convince people otherwise,"Mozeliak said. "But you know what? We've been handed a lot of uphill battles this year and we found ways to work around them. Even though he's definitely going to be missed, we still have to find ways to win baseball games and that's what we will do.

"All the medical people feel that this shouldn't be a problem [once it heals]," Mozeliak added. "But obviously wrists are always a concern when you deal with hitters, so it's something that we'll just have to work through. In his case, he already has a pretty strong grip as it is. That part of it, he's already ahead of the curve, so with that said, most doctors and the medical staff are optimistic that this won't be something that lingers for him."

With the injury, Pujols is will miss the All-Star Game in Phoenix next month.

It does soften the blow that the Cardinals' biggest offseason signing was for a first baseman -- it's just that the team signed Lance Berkman to play the outfield. If Berkman moves to first, it should open right field for Jon Jay, offsetting any defensive loss of Pujols and actually improving the team's defense overall. Yet, its no guarantee Berkman will shift to first, although the odds are he still sees a few games there.

"When we were talking to [Berkman] after we signed him and people were worried about his legs in the outfield, he said actually first base is more stressful with the quick left and rights," La Russa said. "So getting Lance in a place where he's physically feeling the best  and can play the most is a real good answer for us, so I want to talk to him and say, ‘Outfield or first base?' If it's the outfield, he'll play the outfield more. Probably my expectation is we'll have some versatility there."

Jay's also played well in his limited duty, hitting .313/.364/.436, while not Pujolsian, it's still respectable. And it's at least enough to keep pace with the Brewers and Reds in the National League Central. The Cardinals are committed to a strong offense, and Mozeliak admitted that Pujols' injury could change what he looks for on the trade market.

"That's obviously something you think about but I don't think we're in a position yet to really determine if we'd go down that path," Mozeliak said. "But one of the things we were trying to do was make sure we scored runs this year and losing your No. 3 hitter is not going to help.

"We've had creative ways of scoring runs and we'll just see, but does it open some potential opportunities out there that maybe you wouldn't have explored 48 hours ago? Yeah."

Pujols missed 13 games in 2008 when he went on the disabled list with a leg injury and 18 games with a strained muscle in his side in 2006. St. Louis went on to win the World Series in 2006, but missed the playoffs in 2008. 

Pujols is just the latest in a long list of Cardinals injury so far this season. St. Louis' spring training started with talks of Pujols' contract situation, but quickly turned to injuries when starter Adam Wainwright was lost for the season 

The start of the regular season was marked by Matt Holliday having to undergo an emergency appendectomy the day after opening day. Holliday's missed 25 games with various ailments, including a stint on the disabled list with a quad strain, returning last week.

Third baseman David Freese (hand) and utility man Nick Punto (forearm) are expected to start rehab assignments this week and return soon. Allen Craig, who is primarily an outfielder but has played in the infield, is also on the disabled list with a knee injury. senior writer Scott Miller joins Scott Braun to talk about Pujols' injury and what it means for the Cardinals. 

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Category: MLB

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 7:08 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

200 million $ for 8 years of damaged goods? The Cubs can get him for half that now.

Since: Jun 20, 2011
Posted on: June 20, 2011 7:06 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Memo to NL pitchers..don't pitch high in tight or knock Albert Down. This has been proven time and time again to be a bad idea. Just ask Kerry Wood. If you try to intimidate Albert will cost you dearly. Payback is a mofo. If you knock him down..he will crash one. STL fans have seen this time and time again. And for the KC fans on here who think albert was showing themup on his glaring HR trot...don't be stupid. This has happened many times before because of the original cause. Knockdown = homerun..get well soon Albert!!

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:57 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Thats It? The way he rolled around you would have thought the arm was broken and about to fall off! We had a crane guy at work who lost his arm, ripped right off his shoulder and the way he calmly got off the tower crane and into a man basket, you would have never known it! Pujols is a big SISSY!

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:44 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

The big question is "What will Chris Carpenter tell his son?"  Maybe they can Pujols with Jason LaRue-err, nevermind on that.

Since: Mar 17, 2011
Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:29 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

An interesting aspect of this injury is how the Cards will perform without Pujols for an extended time and how that experience will influence their desire to give him a mega-contract during the off season.

Since: May 12, 2011
Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:24 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Pujols will most likely issue a statement saying that he's going to pass on the DL, swing the bat with one arm and play in the field without a glove, using his new cast to swat balls out of the air.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:09 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Berkman to 1rst, Jay to OF. Problem solved. Card fans should be happy with that. This is going to hurt their chances of the playoffs but I bet it wont hurt Alberts chances of making the VERY PATHETIC allstar game. Todays FANBOYS or should I say Fantasy FANBOYS have ruined the game in the enjoyment aspect for me anyways..

Since: Jun 20, 2011
Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:01 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Just like last year when they didn't have a prayer I guess...Hmmm

Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:54 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Sounds like one in your head is broken now, CWergs.

Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:52 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks've got mental issues. 

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