Discussion

Ailing Albert

Updated: June 12, 2008, 11:29 AM ET
By Stephania Bell

The Braves deserve a free pass. They have just had their unfair share of injuries. Add the Padres to that group as well. And while you're at it, throw in the Angels. The Mariners had been pretty lucky, until today when J.J. Putz left in the ninth inning with soreness in his right elbow after throwing just 10 pitches. This does not sound encouraging. More on his situation should be known later this week, but for the other folks suffering setbacks, please, continue on.

Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals: Surprise, surprise! It's not his elbow that's sending Pujols to the DL. It's his calf. Pujols first strained the left calf muscle on June 3, then sat out Wednesday's game and most of Thursday's doubleheader, coming in only to pinch hit. The calf never really seemed to be 100 percent, though as Pujols was still sore heading into Friday night's contest. Then, in the bottom of the seventh Tuesday night, Pujols only made it a few steps out of the batter's box when he fell to the ground, clearly in pain, as the calf made it clear that it was not going to cooperate. Pujols appeared to have difficulty bearing any weight on the leg as his teammates helped escort him from the field. There doesn't seem to be much doubt about where he's headed since manager Tony LaRussa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "I don't think there's a way he's going to avoid the disabled list." Pujols will be examined by the Cardinals' team physician Wednesday and the team will no doubt make it official after that. Given that this is an exacerbation of a milder strain from a week ago, and Pujols strained the same calf fairly seriously in September of 2007, it would be wise for him to shut it down completely to allow the muscle more recovery time. Though we haven't heard much about Pujols' elbow bothering him (and we know he has at least a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament), and he certainly hasn't suffered at the plate so far as a result, the forced rest can only help prolong the life of his elbow too. The Cardinals had indicated prior to the start of the season that they planned to rest Pujols more to help maintain his overall health and not abuse his body, but that really hasn't been the case. Pujols has sat out only two games this season, so the Cardinals may have been lucky that he hasn't broken down sooner. This trip may be just what the doctor ordered.

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