Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that Angels first baseman Albert Pujols may have to DH the rest of the season due to a lingering right foot injury. Pujols dealt with plantar fasciitis last season, but it was in his left foot.
Pujols, 35, was having a terrific season, but has slumped since around the beginning of August. In 125 plate appearances since August 1, he’s hitting .228/.288/.377 with five home runs and 16 RBI. He has 35 home runs overall, his highest home run total since hitting 37 in 2011.
C.J. Cron should get the majority of starts at first base while Pujols serves as the DH, however long that ends up being.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.