Hamstring injury could keep Pujols out through weekend

Hamstring injury could keep Pujols out through weekend

OAKLAND -- Albert Pujols' left hamstring tightened up as he ran out a sixth-inning single on Wednesday night, prompting the first baseman to exit early in the Angels' eventual 6-3 win over the A's.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't anticipate the injury to send Pujols to the disabled list, but he said, "There's some soreness in there, definitely."

Pujols isn't expected to start Thursday's day game, and there's a decent chance he won't play the rest of this week, with the following three games coming in a National League venue -- AT&T Park in San Francisco -- that eliminates the designated hitter.

Pujols on his hamstring

"It feels more like a cramp, but it's really sore right now," Pujols said. "We'll see tomorrow."

Pujols screamed in pain while jogging halfway down the first-base line after a bloop single off Dan Otero and was immediately checked on by the Angels' training staff. The 35-year-old felt a little better after loosening his left leg, but Grant Green took over as a pinch-runner nonetheless.

Initial tests checked out fine and Pujols probably won't require an MRI exam, but he will need to sit out a little while.

"It's weird," said Pujols, batting .208 through the Angels' first 21 games. "I don't have that much history on the hamstring."

For the Angels, it's coming at a tough time.

Their offense has been slow out of the gate, Wednesday night's three-run seventh inning notwithstanding. They scored three runs or fewer in 12 of their first 20 games and entered Wednesday ranked 22nd in the Majors in runs and 25th in OPS.

With Pujols out, Mike Trout is expected to slide into the No. 3 spot and Erick Aybar could bat second, behind leadoff man Kole Calhoun. C.J. Cron will play first base, though Green is also an option.

"It's tough losing Albert, one of our big guys," Trout said. "Hopefully it's just a cramp."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.