Angels first baseman Albert Pujols continues to close in on the 500-homer club. He launched his 497th career blast last night in a 11-6 win over the Tigers. Check it out below:
Pujols is now just three away from becoming the 26th player ever to reach 500 home runs. While the 34-year-old was a little slow to get it going this season, he has five home runs in his last nine games and owns a solid .279/.347/.547 batting line through 16 games. He had the worst season of his career last season while dealing with a plantar fascia injury, but fortunately for the Angels, it appears that he’s back to full health. Or something pretty close to it.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.