Pujols: “I can play 1B if I want to every day”
Albert Pujols started his seventh consecutive game at designated hitter on Wednesday. That makes 41 of his 70 starts at DH this year.
If he had to, though, he believes he could play his position a lot more frequently.
“I can play first base if I want to every day,” Pujols said, “but is that going to be the best for me? That’s not smart. If I was in the National League, I’d do it every day because I know I can play. But I think in the long run, that’s not smart.”
Thanks to a slight mechanical adjustment that has him feeling like he did in his Cardinals days, and putting less pressure on his back leg, Pujols’ right knee feels “a lot better” recently. But he knows he’ll be dealing with off-and-on pain for the entire year. That’s the advice he was given from a member of the Miami Heat, who had a similar procedure and told him not to get frustrated. Pujols didn’t want to reveal who that player was, but said it isn’t Dwyane Wade — who he’s spoken to about other things and not the knee pain that has plagued him throughout the NBA Playoffs.
Pujols hopes to play more games at first base in the second half, but understands he’ll be playing through pain in his surgically repaired knee — as well as the plantar fasciitis on his left foot, which is also “off and on” — all year.
“It was something I expected,” he said of the arthroscopic procedure he had in October. “I knew that in five months, or in three months, my knee wasn’t going to heal fully. That takes seven to eight months before I can feel 100 percent. I’ll probably deal with it all year, and then next year I probably won’t have the same problem.”
That’s his hope, anyway.