Albert Pujols played third base yesterday for the first time since 2002

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David Freese and Nick Punto leaving yesterday afternoon’s game with injuries put the Cardinals in a tough spot and led to Albert Pujols playing third base for the first time since 2002.

He moved from first base to third base for the final 1.1 innings of a 6-5 loss to the Braves and handled his lone chance with ease, throwing out Chipper Jones on a ground ball.

Tony La Russa told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he approached Pujols and simply asked, “Are you ready to play third?”

However, while seeing Pujols back at the hot corner was interesting it doesn’t sound like it’ll be anything more than an emergency option even with Freese out for a month with a broken hand. In between Pujols’ previous appearance at third base in 2002 and his brief action there yesterday the Cardinals used a total of 29 different third basemen.