ESPNews reports St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (calf) is expected to miss three weeks because of a strained calf. He injured his calf while running out a ground ball Tuesday, June 10. The team feared that he might have torn the muscle, which could have resulted in Pujols missing six to eight weeks. However, tests indicated that the injury is less severe.
There is no solid timetable for Pujols' return, and the team plans to be extra cautious with the injury considering it is the second time this has happened this season. Manager Tony La Russa confirmed that it is the third time Pujols has had an issue with his calf going back to last year. The Cardinals plan to make sure the calf is fully healed before he steps foot onto the diamond.
As expected, Pujols has been playing very well so far this season. He is hitting .347 with 16 home runs, 42 RBIs and two stolen bases in 65 games. He ranks third in the majors in batting average, and he is tied for seventh in the league in home runs. He also has a very impressive walk-to-strikeout ratio. He has 52 walks while only striking out only 23 times, which has helped boost his OPS to 1.105.
Outfielder Chris Duncan was recalled Wednesday, June 11, from Triple-A Memphis and is in the starting lineup. Duncan has not put up great numbers this season for the Cardinals. He is hitting .252 with four home runs, 16 RBIs and one stolen base in 47 games. In seven games with Memphis, he hit .160 with no home runs and three RBIs. Duncan would be a good pickup in NL-only leagues and in deep mixed leagues because of his likely increased playing time and his power potential.
Pujols is one of the few near-sure things in fantasy. However, he is playing through the season with a high-grade tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, bone spurs, inflammation and arthritis in joint. Under no circumstances should Pujols be dropped. It is not known exactly how long he will be out, but under the current conditions he should be back with plenty of time to help fantasy teams.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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