Albert Pujols still hopes to return before the end of the season

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Angels first baseman Albert Pujols has been out since July 27 with a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot. He was expected to miss the rest of the 2013 season, but after removing his walking boot for the first time in three weeks, he feels hopeful about returning before the season is up, according to Bill Shaikin.

The foot injury, which had been bothering Pujols long before he was put on the disabled list, was clearly limiting his ability to play the game. He was having his worst offensive season to date, posting a .767 OPS in 443 plate appearances. Those are decent numbers for most first basemen, but for Pujols — author of a career 1.008 OPS — they are subpar. He is in the second year of a ten-year, $240 million contract with the Angels.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.

Rays activate Kevin Kiermaier

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The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.

Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.