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Albert Pujols Out for Season


During his recent three-week absence from the diamond with an injured left foot, Albert Pujols remained confident that he could return and help the underachieving Los Angeles Angels make a late-season push for the postseason, but with the Angels failing to gain any ground in recent weeks, reality started to set in.

With the Angels sitting 15 games out of an American League wild card spot and 15.5 games out of first place in the AL West coming into Monday, Pujols and the team decided that the best course of action would be for him to sit out the remainder of the regular season.

“It’s not an easy decision, as competitive as I am,” Pujols said, according to ESPN.com. “But I also understand that we (need) to look beyond the season.”

Pujols was signed to a massive $240 million contract through 2021 this offseason, so he is obviously a long term investment that the organization doesn’t want to jeopardize losing money on. And after consulting with owner Arte Moreno, general manager Jerry Dipoto and the team’s medical staff – which advised he rest his partially torn plantar fascia for several months – Pujols acknowledged that missing the rest of 2013 was in everyone’s best interest.

“It was a decision of the organization, Arte and Jerry, because I don’t make a decision here,” said Pujols. “I put my uniform on and get ready to play. They said, ‘This is what’s best for the organization in the long run,’ and they came and brought it to me. And I just told them, ‘Whatever you guys want to do, I’m all for it.’ It’s definitely hard, as I want to be out there, but I also understand that I can’t be selfish and put myself out there.”

The injury has certainly limited the Angels star this season. Pujols will end the season having appeared in a career-low 99 games, 65 of which at designated hitter. Pujols will also finish 2013 with career lows in home runs (17), batting average (.258), slugging percentage (.437) and on-base percentage (.330).

The Angels have to be concerned about those numbers even more considering that Pujols is already 34 and hasn’t dealt with many significant injuries in his career. They would hate to see his production continue to decline, especially since he is currently locked in to the third largest contract in the sport’s history. So, with the season all but lost, sitting him for the rest of 2013 seems like the only real option.

“Just look at it,” Pujols said. “Unless in two weeks something happens and we’re only two or three games out … is it worth it to come back and put yourself in a situation where you take that risk? Or just wait six or seven months and get yourself ready for spring training? That’s the decision we all came to.”

While this season has been a massive disappointment for the Angels, they’ll have a better shot at ending their four-year playoff drought next year with a healthy Pujols in the lineup. The Halos will just have to hope he recovers and returns to top form for them to compete in the stacked AL West.

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