With Albert Pujols trying to play despite an injury to his left foot, the Angels are prepared for him to be limited to designated hitter for an extended period of time.
“I’m dying,” Pujols said Sunday. “It’s hurting real bad.”
Pujols started at DH for the fourth consecutive game Sunday, and he now has started more games at DH than at first base. He is suffering from plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue that stretches across the bottom of the foot.
The most effective treatment can be to stay off the foot -- in the case of a baseball player, a stint on the disabled list to let the inflammation subside. Jerry Dipoto, the Angels’ general manager, said the team hopes to manage the injury through treatment and let Pujols play until he says he cannot tolerate the discomfort.
“We’ve discussed every alternative imaginable,” Dipoto said. “We’ve consulted with specialists.
“He is particularly tough, mentally and physically. He’s handling it as well as you can.”
Pujols, 33, has played all 16 games this season, batting .322 with two home runs and 11 runs batted in. He leads the team in on-base percentage (.431) and OPS (.939).
The Angels expect Pujols to return to first base this season, although they have no idea when.
“There’s not a whole lot anybody can forecast,” Dipoto said. “It’s based on his own tolerance.”
By using Pujols at DH instead of first base, the Angels can minimize his movement -- but not eliminate it. Pujols said he did not feel good while legging out a double on Saturday.
“You’re always picking at a scab a little bit, when you’re trying to play and trying to run,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Certainly, you don’t want it to regress. He’s swinging the bat real well.
“You want to keep it to where he can still DH and hopefully get him to first base at some point.”