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Albert Pujols hopes not playing defense will help foot injury

Apr 23, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT

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Albert Pujols admitted over the weekend that he’s “hurting real bad” while playing through plantar fasciitis in his left foot and for now at least the Angels’ plan is to use him at designated hitter to lessen the wear and tear on the injury.

Pujols started his fifth straight game at DH last night, with Mark Trumbo at first base, and the two-time Gold Glover talked to Ben Platt of MLB.com about his status:

I’m able to play first base, too, if I wanted to. It just gets to a point sometimes during the game, by the fifth or sixth inning, it starts getting real sore. I think being the DH as of right now is the best thing to do to try to stay away from planting it as much. It’s nothing different than what I went through and what I have gone through in my career. It’s something that I know how to handle.

Pujols’ greatness has always come from his amazing hitting, of course, but his defense and baserunning were underrated parts of his game for a long time. Not only has he been a very good hitter rather than a great hitter since joining the Angels, the added value he once brought as a fielder and runner has all but disappeared.

  1. illcomm - Apr 23, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    only 9 more years left on this crappy contract. wonder if Cano gets 100 mil deal or if the yankees cut their losses and let him walk after he is now linked to.biogenisis.

    • sportsfanjay - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      Angels in 2015-2020 = Yankees in 2010-2014.
      Old, slow, with huge contracts no one else wants.

  2. jarathen - Apr 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Good thing the Angels dumped Morales and kept Trumbo, since he can play first decently. He’s not as good at defense as Pujols was, but at least he can fill in as needed and not embarrass himself, as he did at third.

  3. bfunk1978 - Apr 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    The guy’s got a couple gold gloves under his belt – I’d hardly call his defense at 1B underrated. Well-respected, maybe, and rightfully so. But the crux of your post is that the value from that is gone, and I totally agree. He looks like he’s 33 going on 50 right now.

    • bsplaincs - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      You think he is 33……Lol. More like 38…….”the machine” is not 33. He will pull a vlad and come out at some point and say he is a lot older…..No worries. At least his Jersey is saleing like hot cakes.

  4. randygnyc - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Illcomm- I’ve heard Robbie is seeking $200 million. He most definitely will not even consider a $100 million dollar offer.

    Pujols is a mess. With 90% of his contract left, he’s become 1/3 of his former self. He can’t play defense and he can hardly move. If he was a free agent right now, would he even get 7 or 8 million on a one year deal? It’s a shame that his legacy will now be this horrific contract.

    • bfunk1978 - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      I think if he were a free agent he’d still get a fairly big 1-year deal, maybe even 2 years. Something along the lines of what Berkman and Beltran got out of STL when they were FAs. That’s a lot of money, just not $254/10.

  5. Rich Peters - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Reblogged this on Higher Ground.

  6. rmcd13 - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Despite his current health problems, Pujols is still an above-average player. He’s averaged 4 wins per year over the last two seasons and currently has a 128wRC+. If he can take care of his foot, I’m confident Pujols will continue to be a productive player well into his 30’s. He won’t be worth that massive contract, but I doubt we’re looking at a Mo Vaughn level decline.

    However, Vaughn’s decline did coincide exactly with his move to the Angels. Anaheim kills 1B!

    • jarathen - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Teixeira really made that contract with his superlative post-trade performance in Anaheim.

      That’s what the Angels do. They get great players in trades, show them off, and lose out on the good ones.

  7. apbestever - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    LOL, so let me get this straight. Albert is obviously playing THROUGH alot of pain. would he look less old if he did what most players do and just hit the DL? instead of him gutting it out for his team? i agree he looks terrible out there trying to run, but i cant knock the fact that hes played every single game this year thru the pain. hes out there producing and doing what hes paid to do.

    all the media, would be down his throat if he said im going to DL, and there killing him for gutting it out. no win.

  8. garyhd01 - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    if this plantar thing is like gout (comes and goes) then with his hitting ill take him as a dh made sense to move to an al team what gives me pause is this a forever thing or will time make it better and we can get him back on the field and if he and Trumbo can trade places start him at first then change places if pujols starts to suffer in the field

  9. scoocha - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Has he ever played defense? His greatest defense was great offense. Remember that terrible ASG he had a few years back. Not Uggla bad but still.

    • stex52 - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      He has been an above average 1st baseman with very good range for the position for most of his career. But plantar fascitis absolutely kills if you have to stand still and then spring suddenly. Probably worse than just running because it will stiffen up.

      The thing is, I don’t know if his long term prospects are all that terrible because you can cure it. It’s an inflammation. You treat it and it slowly heals. But if he goes out he’ll be out for a while. I speak from experience. It takes weeks, anyway.

      • Alex K - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        And it’s awful. I found that standing on the edge of stairs like I was stretching my calves helped a bit. But holy crap is it painful.

    • gostlcards5 - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      Did you not read the “2 Gold Gloves” part of the article?

      Albert was a decent 3B and LF when he came up. He was average (if that) when StL moved him to 1B. Within the second year after his move to 1B, he was VERY good.

      • scoocha - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:34 AM

        Gold Gloves are primarily given out for hitting prowess, I hope you know that. Rafael Palmeiro won a GG and played only 20 games at 1B. Don’t read too much into that.
        Brett Gardner had one of the best defensive seasons ever in LF a few seasons ago and they gave the award to Vernon Wells, I believe. Don’t quote me on that but regardless, the vote was a joke.

    • 78mu - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:38 AM

      He’s no Keith Hernandewz but he was above average at 1B. His biggest problem was being too aggressive sometimes on balls hit to his right but he always showed good hands on throws and hard hit balls. He worked hard on his defense and always wanted to be a complete player.

      The only knock on Pujols in St. Louis is that he didn’t run hard on easy ground balls. But that was only after his hamstring problems and with everything else he did it was easy to let it pass. It’s one thing if Shane Robinson were to loaf down the line (not that he does) and it’s another if Albert does it.

    • 78mu - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:38 AM

      He’s no Keith Hernandez but he was above average at 1B. His biggest problem was being too aggressive sometimes on balls hit to his right but he always showed good hands on throws and hard hit balls. He worked hard on his defense and always wanted to be a complete player.

      The only knock on Pujols in St. Louis is that he didn’t run hard on easy ground balls. But that was only after his hamstring problems and with everything else he did it was easy to let it pass. It’s one thing if Shane Robinson were to loaf down the line (not that he does) and it’s another if Albert does it.

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