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.
Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.
Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.
Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.
Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.
Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.
“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”
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