Angels’ Albert Pujols Could Start 2016 Season on DL

According to Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia via Mike Cranston of the Associated Press, the team’s medical staff thinks Albert Pujols will not be ready for the April 4 season opener against the Chicago Cubs.

“Manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday the three-time NL MVP is doing some swinging but still has a lengthy recovery ahead. Coming off his first 40-home run season since 2010 with St. Louis, Pujols had surgery in November after foot pain limited him to a designated hitter role during the final month of last season.”

Despite the opinion of the team’s medical staff regarding Pujols, they’re hoping his DL stint doesn’t last long and can contribute with the team already having a thin lineup outside of Mike Trout.

From Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com:

“But if you know Albert, you know that he’s always come back quicker than any timeline he’s ever been given,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday, the day pitchers and catchers reported for their physicals. “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.” 

Pujols underwent surgery to repair the plantar plate of his right foot back in November, and is still not ready to participate in defensive drills. C.J. Cron will most likely fill in for him until he returns.

Pujols, 35, batted .244/.307/.480 with 40 home runs in 157 games in 2015 and will enter the 2016 season with 560 career home runs. He is still under contract through 2021. Once upon a time, the American League West was a weak division, but not so much now with the Houston Astros contending thanks to young talented players. The Texas Rangers, who dealt with injuries the past few seasons, are slowly, but surely getting back on their feet and made the postseason last year. The Angels were almost always considered one of the favorites to win the division in recent years, but not so much now and it might be harder to contend once again unless they keep their star first baseman healthy.

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