Albert Pujols day to day after MRI shows no structural damage in calf or knee

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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.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves