Pujols confirms he'd take part in Derby

Pujols confirms he'd play in Derby

CHICAGO -- A day after he was caught off-guard by an announcement that he would be participating in the State Farm Home Run Derby, Albert Pujols made it a point to clarify his stance on the event on Friday. Pujols said he was looking forward to the Derby and that as long as he's selected to the All-Star team and healthy enough to participate, he fully intends to take part.

"Definitely I will," Pujols said. "If I'm healthy, I want to do it, because it's exciting."

On Thursday, Pujols told reporters that it was news to him that Major League Baseball had announced that he would not only participate in the Derby but in the "Call Your Shot" promotion. The next day, though, he said he had agreed to participate, and that he was simply caught off-guard by questions about the events following the Cardinals' Thursday win over the Cubs.

"I knew about it," he said. "You guys caught me by surprise because I didn't know [what you were referring to]. ... It's just that yesterday I was so into the series. I wanted you to understand, my focus right now is to win games and help my team."

Pujols also said, though, that it's possible he could sit out the Cardinals' Saturday game against the Cubs. In his final at-bat on Friday, he was hit above his left elbow by a pitch from Carlos Marmol. He stayed in the game to run the bases, but had a noticeable red welt on his arm afterward.

"It's right on the spot," he said. "It's one of those things, man, it doesn't have to be that hard. It hits you right on the spot, and it's sore and stiff. I want to play, but I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. It's stiff. I was going to do some weights today, but I can't do any weights."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.