Albert Pujols could start the season on the DL

Albert Pujols' health is in question as spring training nears.
Morry Gash/AP

In early November, Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot "to alleviate pain near the arch."

At the time of the procedure, the recovery time was four and a half months, but there was some optimism he’d be able to be ready by Opening Day.

Now, three and a half months after surgery, Pujols has been allowed to swing a bat — not partake in any defensive drills.

Still, manager Mike Scioscia admitted he’d rather play it safe with the 36-year-old.

"But if you know Albert, you know that he’s always come back quicker than any timeline he’s ever been given," Scioscia told "But we’re definitely not going to try to sacrifice the lion’s share of the season to get him back maybe two weeks before he should. When he’s ready, he’s ready."

Should he miss any time, the Angels have options. C.J. Cron is the obvious choice, but they also signed Daniel Nava and picked up Ji-Man Choi in the Rule 5 draft.

If he’s ready to hit, though, it sounds like Scioscia wouldn’t hesitate to put him in the lineup.

"The biggest thing we need from Albert is to hit in the middle of our lineup and get some at-bats," Scioscia said. "We’re a better team with him playing first base, but I’d rather sacrifice that defensive component he brings than to put the offensive component at risk."

Pujols enjoyed a power resurgence in 2015, blasting 40 home runs, but his average and on-base percentage dipped to career lows at .244 and .307, respectively.