Pujols could return for series in Detroit
ST. LOUIS - Albert Pujols could return to the St. Louis Cardinals' lineup as early as Friday in Detroit.
Pujols will take live batting practice Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, where the Cardinals begin a three-game series at 7:05 p.m. against the World Series champion White Sox.
It will be the first time Pujols has hit on the field since he went on the disabled list June 4 with a strained right oblique muscle.
"He's progressing," head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg said Sunday after the Cardinals defeated Colorado 4-1. "He was satisfied today. He took some ground balls, played catch, did some running and hit in the (indoor) cage."
Activating Pujols on Friday would enable him to be the designated hitter for the three games in Detroit. It doesn't seem likely he could return in the White Sox series.
A few minutes before Weinberg spoke to the media, closer Jason Isringhausen let the cat out of the bag when he discussed Pujols' return in Detroit.
"We should get Albert back in Detroit," Isringhausen said. "That makes things a lot better for everybody. To get Albert back within the next week is going to be nice."
Weinberg became angry when told of Isringhausen's comment.
"Then quote Izzy, don't quote Barry," Weinberg snapped. "Barry just gave you a comment. Quote Izzy if you want. Go ahead."
Pujols was not available for comment after the game.
Weinberg reiterated there is no targeted date for Pujols' return. He has missed the last 13 games.
"There is no timetable yet," Weinberg said. "Each time we satisfy something, we get closer and closer. We'll see how he does hitting off coaches on Tuesday."
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa agreed.
"We're just talking about progress," he said. "As long as he keeps passing the test, we're not putting any date on (his return). We're stepping up the workout. Some day if you see him take a serious simulated game, you'll know he's close, and he's not doing that."
Weinberg said Pujols hasn't felt any discomfort in his side, although he has had "general body soreness."
"But that's from laying off for two weeks," Weinberg said. "Now he's doing some field work."
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