Los Angeles Angels Should Bench Albert Pujols Until Next Season

By Tony Baker

It’s official, the injury bug has sounded the death knell for the Los Angeles Angels‘ 2013 season. Slugger Albert Pujols headed to Southern California to get an MRI for his plantar-fasciitis plagued left foot, an injury he aggravated on Friday against the Oakland Athletics.

It was only a matter of time before the injury got the better of Pujols, who had been playing through it all year. His ailment has been reflected in his numbers this season, the worst of his career: .258 batting, 17 home runs and 64 RBIs.

Depending on the results of the MRI, Pujols could be out for the season with a torn tendon. That scenario would leave Pujols with no choice but to get surgery and sit out the remainder of 2013. If the tendon is merely inflamed, however, Pujols could receive a cortisone injection that would only require him to miss as little as five days.

Even if the tendon is not torn, however, the Angels should press Pujols to get surgery and take the time he needs to make a full recovery.

With this season’s playoff hopes long gone, there is little effective difference between a diminished Pujols and no Pujols at all. We’ve seen the level he plays at with this injury, and that level of play will be unacceptable going forward on his $212 million contract over the next eight years.

It may be a difficult decision for Mike Scioscia, Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno to make, but the Angels are stuck with Pujols in the long term. Why not give him the best possible chance of being healthy, rather than continuing to ride him until he breaks down? Pujols is a weighty investment, and the Halos don’t want to look back and say they ruined their investment three years into a ten-year commitment. That would set the franchise back for an entire generation.

Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.

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