Things just went from bad to worse in Hollywood as the Los Angeles Angels placed Albert Pujols on the disabled list Sunday with no timetable for his return. In fact, Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn’t rule out surgery to repair Pujols’ partially torn plantar fascia, which would end his season. That is absolutely the route the Angels should take because taking this injury too lightly could be catastrophic for the team in the long term.
At 33, Pujols has been just about as disappointing this year as he was in 2012, his first season with the Angels after signing a 10-year $250 million contract in December 2011. What’s funny is Scioscia says Pujols has been dealing with this injury for the past “six or seven years.” Really? We couldn’t tell when he was batting over .300 and hitting 40 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals consistently from 2001 through 2011, including that fantastic postseason finale that resulted in a World Series win.
Of course, the foot injury didn’t just come out of the blue, either; Pujols has been serving as the Angels’ designated hitter for quite some time due to the pain from plantar fasciitis. However, it’s hard to believe that Pujols has been breaking hitting records over the past six or seven years while supposedly dealing with unbearable pain in his foot. So that leads me to believe the Angels are just trying to find an excuse to end his season, which has been lackluster by his incredible standards.
Even if that’s the case, the Angels would be wise to shut down a player of Pujols’ age with as many years as he has left to play in L.A. and as much money as the team still has to pay him. The team was 48-54 entering Sunday’s contest against the AL West-leading Oakland A’s, who were 12 games ahead of the Angels before that contest. Needless to say, there’s not a lot of faith in L.A. that the team will catch fire and make the playoffs, even with Pujols on the field, so the Angels need to do the smart thing and start preparing for next season now.