On Thursday, Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hit two home runs.
Not only was that impressive for a 38 year old, but it also tied Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place on the all-time home run list with 630.
Hitting .252 with 16 home runs and a team-leading 52 RBIs, it’s clear that Pujols still has a lot left in the tank, as he has been productive.
But, perhaps his advanced age caught up to him a bit.
On Friday, the Angels announced that Pujols was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left knee inflammation.
Manager Mike Scioscia admitted that Pujols had been playing with the knee pain for a while, so the team decided to use the All-Star break to give him additional time to rest.
Maria Guardado of MLB.com reported that Pujols received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his ailing knee on Friday and is expected to return from the DL after the 10-day stint.
"This guy is such a gamer," Scioscia said. "He's been playing with it banged up for a while, and he's been very productive. This is really to try to get him to a little higher level, to make him more comfortable, maybe a little bit more durable on the knee, because he goes out there and plays at 50 percent. It's just to give him at a little higher percentage to where it's not at taxing. But he's going to play. There's no doubt about it. The way it's been for a while, he's played on it, he's played very well. We're very confident that this will help him.”
Guardado pointed out an interesting fact in her report. In an effort to give rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani playing time at the designated hitter spot, Pujols has been tasked with taking on a heavier workload at first base this season. In fact, his 48 starts there this season already have eclipsed his total starts there over the last two seasons combined (34).
That fielding responsibility might have played a role in causing his knee injury.
"Albert at times is superhuman," Scioscia said. "He's been dealing with a lot of things, and he's played and he's played well with it. This has been bothering him for a while, but he's managed to stay in the lineup, play first base a lot, manage to do things that were important for the club. Hopefully this will move him a little bit forward."
While he may not pass the legends at the top of the all-time home run list, it appears as though Pujols has a real shot at hitting 700 bombs in his Hall of Fame career. He will have to avoid any major injuries to get there, so hopefully he will benefit from the rest he can take while on the DL.
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