Pujols playing through pain

Pujols playing through pain

Pujols playing through pain
SEATTLE -- Eleven days removed from sustaining a right calf injury in an Aug. 22 game at Fenway Park, Albert Pujols still isn't running well and obviously isn't 100 percent healthy.

Only one thing matters to him right now, though.

"I'm in the lineup," Pujols said. "As long as I'm in the lineup, I don't care. It's feeling well. I'm playing, so I'm feeling good."

Pujols missed four games after suffering the injury and has started each of his next six at designated hitter, with no signs of when he can return to his natural position of first base. The Angels' slugger hasn't come close to hitting full stride on the basepaths, but he has hit well, going 9-for-24 with a homer, six RBIs and, somehow, five runs scored since coming back.

Kendrys Morales, playing in his first season since a couple of ankle surgeries forced him to miss almost two full years, has held up well while starting five of the last six games at first base. And for the Angels, the most important thing is to somehow get Pujols' bat in the lineup.

But there's no telling when he can be 100 percent again.

"He's trying to nurse through this," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "One of the reasons why in Detroit [last weekend] he didn't play is because in the batter's box he didn't feel like he could load and do what he needed to do to hit. Well he's past that now, he feels comfortable doing that, but obviously running is a little bit of an issue."

Pujols is currently riding a season-long 11-game hitting streak, which has seen him bat .395 (17-for-43). And with a critical 10-game stretch coming up, with seven against the A's and three against the Tigers, there's hardly time to rest.

"Am I 100 percent? No, of course," said Pujols, batting .288 with 29 homers and 92 RBIs on the year. "But I don't think anyone here is 100 percent right now. It's September. Everybody has soreness and all that. You just have to continue to fight."