Sore calf keeps Pujols out of lineup again

Sore calf keeps Pujols out of lineup again

Sore calf keeps Pujols out of lineup again
DETROIT -- For the second straight game, first baseman Albert Pujols was not in the Angels' lineup.

Pujols was removed from Wednesday's contest after feeling pain in his right calf running the bases. He was subsequently held out of Thursday's game, and is now missing the series opener in Detroit.

Pujols underwent an MRI on Thursday that revealed no structural damage. He was diagnosed with inflammation in the calf, and wasn't concerned when speaking to the media about it. In 2009, while with the Cardinals, he had a calf injury that required a stint on the disabled list, but this feels "nothing even close to that," he said.

Still, the nine-time All-Star and three-time National League Most Valuable Player isn't quite ready to play the field or even serve as the team's designated hitter.

"He got treatment today a number of times, and we'll see how it sets up," said manager Mike Scioscia when asked if Pujols would be available to pinch-hit. "Right now it's affecting his stance in the batter's box a bit, and that would be something that would probably stop him from doing that."

Pujols, who is considered day to day, hopes he'll be back in the lineup on Saturday against Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly, but first he has to see how the calf responds to working out and taking batting practice.

"Today it feels better than yesterday and the day before," Pujols said. "It's a day to work out and react, and hopefully tomorrow I'll be ready to go."

Pujols is batting .283 this season with 28 home runs and 86 RBIs. Until sustaining the injury, he ranked first in the Majors in home runs (28) and fifth in RBIs (81) since May 6, when he hit his first bomb with the Angels.