The inside of Albert Pujols’ left hand was still too sore and swollen to properly grip and swing a bat Thursday, and the Angels slugger was not in the lineup for the series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre.
But Pujols felt — and looked — far better Thursday than he did Wednesday night, when he was hit by a high-and-tight Drew Hutchinson fastball in the fourth inning and removed from the game in the fifth. A CT scan showed no broken bones, and Pujols remained hopeful of playing Friday night in Boston.
“Definitely,” Pujols said, when asked if he thought his injury was going to be more serious. “My hand swelled up twice as much yesterday. I couldn’t feel my fingers. That’s the reason I came out of the game. I couldn’t grip the bat. … I was in a lot of pain last night, but I’m fine right now.”
Tests performed by the team’s medical staff showed that Pujols had regained the strength in his hand, but his inability to grip a bat made the decision to rest him Thursday an easy one.
Marc Krauss, who replaced Pujols on Wednesday night and delivered a game-winning two-run double in the seventh inning of a 4-3 victory, started at first base and hit second. Manager Mike Scioscia dropped Mike Trout from the second to the third spot, where Pujols hits.
“You can be sore in your hamstring or your leg, but if it’s your hand and you can’t swing the bat, it’s hard,” Pujols said. “I don’t want to put myself in a situation. If it was Game 7 of the World Series, yeah, I’d play, but we still have a long season.”