Albert Pujols has been limited to designated hitter duties recently due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but while it’s been painful to watch him run the bases, he’s apparently feeling some improvement.
Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com passes along word that Pujols will play first base tonight against the Mariners for the first time since April 15. The 33-year-old has appeared as the designated hitter in each of his last seven starts and nine out of his last 10. He said earlier this week that serving as the DH gives him the best chance to get over the hump with the foot injury, so the Angels aren’t going to push him. But it’s a positive sign that he’s playing the field again.
Pujols is batting .267/.385/.413 with two home runs, 11 RBI and a .798 OPS through 91 plate appearances this season. He is in the second year of a 10-year, $240 million contract.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman said on Tuesday that reliever Dellin Betances will begin the regular season on the injured list due to inflammation and impingement in his right shoulder, the YES Network’s Jack Curry reports. Curry adds that Betances will try throwing again in three to five days.
Betances, who turns 31 years old later this month, has allowed two runs on two hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings this spring. He has experienced diminished fastball velocity, which is now explained by his injury. The right-hander is coming off of another excellent season in which he posted a 2.70 ERA with 115 strikeouts and 26 walks across 66 2/3 innings.
Fortunately, the Yankees have more than enough depth in the bullpen to withstand Betances’ absence. Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, and Zach Britton will handle the late innings and Betances will slot back in whenever he is healthy.