Cardinals GM says Albert Pujols’ return timetable is “fluid”

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Albert Pujols was initially given a 4-6 week recovery timetable for his fractured wrist, but as you’d expect from someone who’s never played fewer than 143 games in a season he’s already talking about getting back in the lineup.

News that Pujols would likely be in a soft cast for four weeks seemingly ruled out a return at the front end of his timetable, but general manager John Mozeliak told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that “everything is fluid” and there’s a CT scan scheduled for next week.

Pujols sounds doubly frustrated by the injury because it’s not something he can simply play through by being tough, which he’s done plenty of in previous seasons.

In his absence manager Tony La Russa indicated to Strauss that rookie Mark Hamilton will likely get at least a couple starts per week at first base, with Lance Berkman seeing the bulk of the time there and Jon Jay getting more action in right field.

Shohei Ohtani will undergo Tommy John surgery once the season ends

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The Angels announced on Tuesday that P/DH Shohei Ohtani will undergo Tommy John surgery during the first week of the offseason (next week). The surgery will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. The Angels don’t have a timetable for Ohtani’s recovery yet but will provide more information when it becomes available.

Ohtani, 24, underwent an MRI earlier this month which showed new damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He decided to play out most of the remainder of the season before making a decision. While Ohtani certainly wouldn’t be able to pitch next year, the Angels are confident that he will still be able to function as a full-time DH with no issues.

Ohtani had an outstanding first season in the majors. He hit .280/.361/.564 with 21 home runs, 56 RBI, 55 runs scored, and nine stolen bases in 347 plate appearances. As a pitcher, he posted a 3.31 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 22 walks in 51 2/3 innings across 10 starts.

The Angels have five games left this season, all at home. They have two more against the Rangers, are off Thursday, then wrap up the season with a three-game set with the Athletics.