Angels’ Pujols shelved for remainder of season
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Albert Pujols’ season is over.
Three days after saying he was almost ready to start swinging a bat, Pujols said he will not return after tearing a ligament in his left foot last month. The decision was made by the Angels’ medical staff and front office.
“We sat down, and by the time I was going to come back there would be two weeks left of the season,” Pujols said Monday. “That’s what the doctors and everybody else agreed on. We looked to see if it was worth it to try and come back and decided to shut it down the rest of the year.”
Pujols was placed on the disabled list July 28 after he tore the plantar fascia ligament in his foot running to first base against the Oakland A’s two nights earlier. At the time, he was expected to be out several weeks, but he said he wanted to rehab and get back as soon as possible.
The Angels’ 15½-game deficit in the American League West made the decision to end his season simple. Pujols, 33, said there was no real risk he could aggravate the injury, but coming back when he was less than 100 percent would be pointless.
“I think it was a smart move,” he said. “I’m kind of bummed out because I want to be out there with the guys and play. It’s no fun being on the bench for four hours, but I also understand it’s not only this year. It’s however more years and hopefully more.”
Pujols is in the second year of a 10-year, $240-million contract.
He played in a career-low 99 games this year and was the team’s designated hitter in 65 games because of the injury. He was hitting .297 in July before going on the DL but finished with uncharacteristically low numbers: a .258 average, 17 home runs and 64 RBI. This season marks the first time in 14 years he won’t finish with at least 30 homers.
“Everything would have to be perfectly aligned for him to come back and play,” manager Mike Scioscia said, “and by trying to get to that level, maybe there’s some things that might at risk and set the healing process back. It’s a decision everyone can be at peace with, and we can get Albert ready for next year.”
But Pujols said he’s taking no chances in case he begins to think he might be able to play again this season.
“I’m taking my bat and sending it to the car,” he said. “That way I won’t be tempted.”
Outfielder Mike Trout was also sitting out Monday’s series opener against the Cleveland Indians after feeling tightness in his right hamstring Sunday.
Trout, who has missed just one game this season, said the decision was more precautionary. He said he’s hopeful he can play Tuesday.
“I feel a lot better than I did yesterday,” he said. “No grabbing, just a little sore.
“I wanted to play, but I don’t need to push it. I don’t want it to get serious.”
Scioscia said it was possible Trout could be used in a pinch-hitting role Monday night.