Cleared To Play

Yesterday morning I laughed off suggestions from Tony LaRussa that Albert Pujols wouldn’t require any rehab starts in the Minors to test out his fractured wrist prior to returning to the St. Louis Cardinals. It seemed ridiculous. A fractured wrist is a serious injury for a baseball player, and it was originally expected to keep the star first baseman out of the lineup for four to six weeks. Yet here was LaRussa already talking about his return only two weeks after the injury. It was quite obviously premature.

And then this happened:

As if only missing thirteen games from a fractured wrist wasn’t impressive enough, there were rumblings yesterday that Pujols had actually been taking batting practice at full strength for the last week.

Despite his absence, the Cardinals have somehow managed to hold on to first place in the National League Central ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers by one game, the Pittsburgh Pirates by a game and a half, and the Cincinnati Reds by three full games..