The Angels were given a bit of a scare last night when Albert Pujols was forced to exit in the fourth inning after tweaking his right calf and knee on the basepaths, but it appears he will not require an extended absence.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, an MRI exam this afternoon ruled out any structural damage in the calf or knee. Pujols is dealing some some inflammation in the calf, but he’s considered day to day for now.
“I feel way better today,” said Pujols, who had missed only three games before Thursday. “I’m walking better, and I have some strength. Hopefully, it’s nothing too bad. I hope it’s just day to day.”
Mark Trumbo is filling in at first base tonight against the Red Sox while Vernon Wells is playing left field.
Pujols, 32, is hitting .283/.344/.533 with 28 home runs, 86 RBI and an .877 OPS in 121 games played this season. He leads the majors with 14 home runs since the All-Star break.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.