The Associated Press reports St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (elbow) underwent surgery on his right elbow Monday, Oct. 13, and is expected to be ready in time for spring training next year. The procedure was performed by team physician Dr. George Paletta and included decompression and transposition of the ulnar nerve. The surgery did not require reconstruction of the medial collateral ligament.
Pujols had been experiencing numbness and tingling in his ring finger and pinkie, weakness in his grip and pain along the inside of his forearm. Paletta believes the procedure, along with the way the injury has been managed thus far, will keep Pujols from having to undergo Tommy John surgery for the rest of his career.
Pujols finished the 2008 season with a .357 batting average, which was second in the National League behind Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones. He also posted 37 home runs and 116 RBIs, making him a strong candidate for his second National League Most Valuable Player Award.
The good news for Pujols is that the surgery did not require reconstruction of his medial collateral ligament, which would most likely have kept him out for part of the 2009 season. Instead, Pujols will begin his rehabilitation this week and expects to be ready for spring training. Paletta clarified even further by stating that Pujols would likely be able to begin full baseball activities in about three months.
Fantasy owners should expect the same kinds of numbers from Pujols going into the 2009 season. If Pujols plays in the World Baseball Classic next spring, as he had expressed hope to do earlier this year, his performance could be an early indication of how he is responding to his elbow surgery. Entering 2008, concerns about Pujols' elbow pain caused him to slip to the second or even third round in some drafts. This procedure should allow fantasy baseball players to draft this stud with confidence in 2009.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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