Albert Pujols exited the Angels’ loss on Thursday night with left hamstring tightness, but is not expected to “miss much, if any, time,” according to manager Brad Ausmus. Pujols was officially listed by the team as day-to-day.
“We don’t think it’s anything major,” Ausmus said following his club’s 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros. “We think it was more of a cramp.”
After going one for three through the first seven innings, Pujols was removed from the game before the top of the eighth inning. Rookie Matt Thaiss took his place in the lineup.
Ausmus said the team initally feared that Pujols, 39, had suffered a strain. After meeting with Pujols postgame, however, Ausmus was optimistic it was only a minor issue.
“We do not believe it is [a strain],” Ausmus said. “We don’t expect it to be very long-term.”
Pujols has been productive of late. Entering Thursday, he had a .286 batting average, .757 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and 15 RBIs since his homecoming in St. Louis on June 21. In those 14 games, he hit safely in 12 of them , helping the Angels to a 9-5 record. During the stretch, he has raised his average from .231 to .242.
After sitting out Wednesday night’s game, he struck out and grounded out in his first two at-bats Thursday before singling home a run in the sixth inning. In an 0-and-2 count against Astros reliever Will Harris, he lined a curveball into left that allowed Mike Trout to score from second.
Ausmus wasn’t certain if the hamstring injury would keep Pujols, who not been on the injured list all year and played his 75th game of the season Thursday, out of the lineup for the club’s series-opener at the Seattle Mariners on Friday. He said there is a chance the first baseman won’t miss any time at all.
“Very optimistic,” Ausmus said, “that he won’t miss much, if any, time.”