The latest report on Albert Pujols is that the Cardinals are optimistic his injury isn't as bad as originally suspected.
Meanwhile, third baseman David Freese is set to leave on a rehab assignment that could see him back at the hot corner for the home team in a few days.
Barring an unexpected discovery of a fracture, Pujols' wrist injury ought to be something that keeps him out a matter of days or a couple of weeks -- not several months. It's been called a sprain, but further examination will determine if there is ligament damage that could complicate the issue.
It's ironic that Pujols was hurt playing his usual position at first while many of us were worried by his recent deployment at third base because of his pre-existing elbow problem. Of course, he's had a habit of playing on the home plate side of first and reaching across the bag that has led to some bumps and bruises in the past. So it wasn't terribly unexpected it would eventually lead to problems.
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There's been a perception this season that Pujols is a non-factor because he hasn't hit for his typical average. Meanwhile Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday have been stealing some of his highlights. But, while Pujols is currently hitting for a .279 average -- 50 points below his career mark -- he's still amongst baseball's leaders in production numbers. He's third in the National League in batting average and home runs. He's eighth in total bases and tenth in RBIs.
Freese isn't going to make up for Albert's power numbers. But he was hitting .356 before he was sidelined thanks to a broken bone he suffered when he was hit by a pitch. The Cardinals could use a guy who consistently gets on base and gives Berkman and Holliday some support in the lineup.
It's a shame that Allen Craig is on the disabled list with a cracked knee cap. The logical thing to do in Pujols' absence is to play lance Berkman at first and go back to a platoon of Craig and Jon Jay in right.
Of course every door that closes opens another. So this will give the Cardinals a chance to see what Andrew Brown really has to offer.