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: Jan 16, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:51 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

I thought Pujols was a gold glove first baseman. Message for Albert, "Don't reach back into the baseline when attempting to catch a throw." Big Al is a great player and I hate to see guys get hurt, but I'm not shedding a tear over this one. I'm sure that Tony "The Mullet" LaRussa will try to spin this thing into someone else's fault.

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:47 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Not surprised your a Reds fan who is happy to see him go cuz with him around your team hasnt a prayer.

Since: Feb 23, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:43 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Give me a break, staring a pitcher down isn't acting like an a$$, it's called intimidating a pitcher. Good hitters do it. The only one acting like an a$$ here is you for being glad a guy got hurt. Nice.

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:36 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

5<sup>th</sup> inning Coleman throws Pujols an inside fastball.
Pujols stares him down, like how dare you throw inside on me. Pujols then
proceeds to hit a home run 2 pitches later and stare him down again while emphatically
tossing his bat. The very next inning Pujols gets his arm broken by Betemit
running down the first base line. Can you say Karma for acting like an A$$.
These guys who are offended by pitchers pitching inside are ridiculous. It the
old days and better days, the next pitch would have been in his ear hole for
staring in the first place. You are supposed to pitch power inside to prevent
their arms from extending. Today’s athletes need to get over themselves. Later Albert,
good riddance.

Since: May 26, 2011
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:24 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Hey CWergs I dont Know if you were actually there but I know I was sitting first row behind the dugout and between the ball and the collision with Betemit Not only did Albert have every right to show what I thought was not quite the reaction that you made it sound like, but if you would have been in his situation I would have loved to see what u wouldve done. Albert Pujols is a tough guy, a great part of this team and most importantly could kick your ass so maybe lay off. 

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:23 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Even as a die hard Reds fan I hate to see this stuff happen to the Greats of the game. I like what he had to say after the game as well. "trust me! if I come out of a game, IT HURTS' For some reason I believe him.. Go Reds

Since: Jan 10, 2010
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:18 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

@Cwergs the only little girl i see is you and your crying and whining.

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 4:56 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Out 4 - 6 weeks, one to two more for getting back into the mix and that puts us around the first week in August.  With allof Aug and Sep to go he can get the ave back up to mormal and still get his 30home runs, the 100+ RBI'S might be a bit tough though.  All this is to say I wonder how this "off" year is going to cost him when the contract talks start up again.  The $30 million dollar man might ba back to a very respectable $22 million dollar man.  Good luck Albert hope your recover is a speedy one.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 4:41 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

This is good news for Albert - at least this can provide some explanation to why he ran away from first and rolled around on the ground like he was a 5 year old girl that just got her lollipop stolen from her....  

And yes - I have broken several bones before anyone questions if I know what it's like.... 


Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: June 20, 2011 4:35 pm

Pujols out 4-6 weeks

Best of luck Pujols, wish you well.  Sorry Cards fans, that is going to hurt big time.

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