Pujols out after being hit by pitch

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Albert
Pujols was hit by a pitch on the funny bone Tuesday night, but there was
nothing funny about it Wednesday morning.

 

The 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.