Albert Pujols’ two homers and three hits Thursday against Seattle became even more impressive a day later when the extent of what he’s been dealing with was revealed.
The future Hall of Famer received an injection of platelet-rich plasma in his left knee Friday and was placed on the 10-day disabled list. Manager Mike Scioscia said Pujols has been managing inflammation in the joint for weeks. Pujols has been rested periodically because of the swelling.
“He goes out there and he plays at 50 percent,” Scioscia said. “Maybe this will get him at a little higher percentage where it’s not as taxing.”
Scioscia said the decision had been in the plans for some time. By doing it now, Pujols and the Angels can take advantage of the upcoming All-Star break, which means he’ll miss only six games before returning July 23.
“He’s been playing with it banged up for awhile and he’s been very productive,” Scioscia said. “This is really to try to get him to a little higher level and get him more comfortable and maybe a little more durable.”
At age 38, Pujols entered Friday leading the Angels with 52 RBIs and was batting .304 with runners in scoring position.
With Shohei Ohtani joining the Angels, Pujols has played 48 games at first base after playing there only 34 times the past two years combined.
Scioscia said the Angels believe this plan will allow Pujols to continue playing defensively as much as possible after the break.
“We anticipate that he will be able to come back and play first base enough in the second half to make sure we can have a deeper lineup with Shohei’s bat in there,” Scioscia said.
Skaggs ‘not happy’ at All-Star snub
Two pitchers were added as replacements to the American League All-Star team Friday and neither was Tyler Skaggs.
Instead, Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell and Houston’s Charlie Morton will be going to Washington D.C., a place where Skaggs believes he belongs.
“I thought I had a good opportunity,” the left-hander said. “They decided to go somewhere else. I’m not happy about it.”
Skaggs has been one of baseball’s best pitchers, particularly in the past six weeks. Since June 3, he’s 4-1 with a 0.95 ERA. He has missed two starts because of an adductor strain.
Skaggs’ 2.57 ERA is tied for sixth in the AL. The six players ahead of or even with him all are All-Stars.
“It’s very disappointing,” Skaggs said. “I feel like I’ve thrown the ball pretty consistently the past month. I’d say I’ve been up there with the big boys, the guys who are consistently All-Stars. It’s tough.”
He still could receive an invitation should another AL spot become available this weekend.
The Angels signed veteran reliever Junichi Tazawa to a minor league contract. He’ll report to the team’s spring training complex in Tempe, Ariz. Tazawa, 32, was released this week by Detroit. … Reliever Jim Johnson is scheduled to make his next rehabilitation appearance this weekend.