You’d never know it if you looked at his stats — the Angels’ slugger is hitting .317 with eight extra-base hits — but Albert Pujols has been bothered by plantar fasciitis in his left foot. With another start at DH this afternoon, he has now started more games as the DH (nine) than as the first baseman (eight). Pujols himself admits the injury is bothering him.
“I’m dying,” Pujols said according to Bill Shaikin. “It’s hurting real bad.”
The Angels will continue to use Pujols until he cannot handle the pain anymore.
“You’re always picking at a scab a little bit, when you’re trying to play and trying to run,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Certainly, you don’t want it to regress. He’s swinging the bat real well.
“You want to keep it to where he can still DH and hopefully get him to first base at some point.”
The Angels have used Mark Trumbo at first base when Pujols has been the DH, which should be the case for the foreseeable future.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.
Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and now we know why. He injured his right elbow and both hips falling in the shower three weeks ago, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He has had anti-inflammatory shots applied in both areas and he’ll be be shut down from pitching for a few more days.
Iglesias might not be ready for Opening Day, according to manager Bryan Price. Iglesias, however, thinks otherwise. He said, “I’m going to be OK. I’m probably going to throw one bullpen, and after that, mentally and physically, I’ll be ready to join the season and compete.”
Price said throughout the offseason that he intended to pick his closer according to the matchups rather than naming one official closer. As a result, this injury likely doesn’t change much except that Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, and Tony Cingrani may get a few more early season save chances if Iglesias doesn’t start the season on time.
Iglesias, 27, finished last season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings across five starts and 32 relief appearances.