Pujols was hit by a pitch Tuesday night on his right elbow that caused him to miss WED's game.
By MICHAEL MARTINEZFS West
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Albert Pujols was hit by a pitch on the funny bone Tuesday night, but there was nothing funny about it Wednesday morning.
Los Angeles Angels first baseman was out of the starting lineup for only the second time this season after being hit on the right elbow in the third inning while he was swinging the bat against the Kansas City Royals.
At first, it was believed Pujols was hit on the forearm, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed it was on the outside of the elbow in the area commonly known as the funny bone.
“That’s exactly right,” Scioscia said. “If you say the funny bone, people know what you’re talking about.”
X-rays taken Wednesday morning came back negative.
Pujols, who is hitting .340 with four home runs and four doubles since the All-Star break, has sat out only one other game this season. That was May 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays when he was batting .194 and was still in search of his first home run.
At the time, Scioscia called it a “mental day,” a term he uses frequently when he gives slumping players a day off.
Pujols was still sore Wednesday, but Scioscia said he hopes first baseman will be back in the lineup Friday for a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium.
The Angels are off Thursday.
Pujols stayed in the game Tuesday but struck out and grounded out in his last two at-bats. He’s currently hitting .277 and is second on the team in home runs (18) and RBI (61). His most recent home run, Sunday against the Texas Rangers, was the 463rd of his career, tying him with Atlanta’s Chipper Jones for 32nd place on the career list.
The Angels were actually without half their starting infield for the series finale against the Royals. Shortstop Erick Aybar sat out his fourth game in a row after fouling a ball off the big toe on his right foot Saturday.
Aybar has a subtle non-displaced fracture of his big toe. Other than playing catch in the outfield, Aybar hasn’t been able to take infield or hit in the batting cage. He spent two days in a walking boot.
However, Scioscia said Aybar is making progress.
“Erick says he feels much better today, and that’s encouraging,” Scioscia said. “But the determination over the next couple of days is to define what’s ‘much better.’ Are you ready to play? Are you ready to get back out there? This weekend will be one week (since the injury), so if he’s not making significant progress toward being ready to play, we’ll have a decision to make.”
In fact, the Angels might decide by Friday whether to put Aybar on the disabled list. If they do, they will probably call up infielder Andrew Romine from Triple-A Salt Lake and return Jean Segura to Double-A Arkansas.