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Pujols says he wants to retire as a Cardinal

Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols had a lot of reasons to smile Tuesday when he collected his third MVP award, tying the legendary Stan Musial for the most in St. Louis baseball history.

But he gave fans even more reason to smile when he announced, contrary to rumors earlier this off-season that he might take his show elsewhere when his current contract expires, that he doesn't want to play anywhere but here.

"This is my place," Pujols said at a press conference at Busch Stadium where he was introduced as the NL MVP. "This is where I want to be. I don't hide that. I keep saying that, since you guys [reporters] started talking about whether I'm going to be a free agent or whether I'm going to sign here. We've still got two years left. ... When my decision comes, then I'll deal with that. Right now I don't have to worry about it because I'm still going to be a Cardinal for two more years and hopefully for 15 more years if I can play for that long and can retire as a Cardinal."

Pujols also revealed during the meeting just how troublesome his elbow was late in the 2009 season and in the play-offs. He said when he went to Alabama to see Dr. George Paletta he was almost certain that he needed elbow reconstruction, or Tommy John surgery, that could take away much of his 2010 season.

"I was so nervous," he told's Matthew Leach. "Going down there, I was pretty much thinking 95 percent that I was going to have the Tommy John surgery. But at the same time, I have faith. I've been playing with this ligament like this for six years."

Instead, Paletta said found Pujols only needed a clean-up and he is expected to be ready to go in time for spring training.