Albert Pujols went eight years between starts at third base before playing there on May 16, but now less than three weeks later he’s back at the hot corner.
Pujols, who went 0-for-4 in that May 16 start, is playing third base and batting third for the Cardinals tonight against Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants.
Lance Berkman takes over for Pujols at first base, which he played for most of the past six seasons before shifting back to the outfield this year, and Jon Jay is in right field.
In between third base starts Pujols hit .269 with two homers and a .745 OPS in 13 games.
Earlier, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge more or less cemented what we already knew: that he doesn’t have any interest in defending his Home Run Derby title in July when the All-Star festivities are held at Nationals Park. It sounds like Red Sox outfielders Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are on the same anti-Derby page.
When asked if he had any interested in participating in the Derby, Betts said (via Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe), “Hell no. I don’t hit home runs in BP. Can you imagine me going against Aaron Judge?” Betts was told Judge won’t be participating, then asked if that changed his mind. He said, “Hell no. I’m not that kind of hitter.”
Martinez won’t participate but for a different reason. He’s still upset he was passed over for inclusion in the Derby in 2015. Martinez said, “MLB didn’t want me. I figured I’d have the option of doing it and they said no. They had other guys they wanted, all these young guys. I was like, ‘Forget it. I’ll never do it.'”
Betts and Martinez have been two of baseball’s best hitters thus far. Betts entered Wednesday’s action batting .368/.439/.772 with an MLB-best 16 home runs along with 35 RBI, 49 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases. Martinez is hitting .343/.399/.674 with 15 home runs and 41 RBI.