How long does Pujols get to play?
"I can tell you this," Manuel said in a teleconference Wednesday with American League manager Joe Maddon. "He's probably going to hit third or fourth. I definitely will talk to [Cardinals manager Tony La Russa] about how long he is going to play and everything. I think the kind of season he is having and with the All-Star Game in St. Louis, I think it is absolutely tremendous for Major League Baseball. He's one of the greatest hitters in the game, of course. It's a good time for St. Louis. It's a good time for people to see a representative from the Cardinals."
Manuel also talked about the makeup of his roster, especially because two of the three NL starting outfielders are injured: Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez and Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran. Ibanez could rejoin the Phillies on Friday against Pittsburgh, and if he plays in a couple games over the weekend, Manuel said he expects Ibanez to play in the All-Star Game.
Manuel learned Wednesday that Beltran will not play next week, which means Manuel needs to find a replacement.
If Beltran had been elected on the Players' Ballot, Manuel would have taken the next highest player on the ballot. But because fans elected Beltran as a starter, Manuel has more leeway. That could pave the way for him to take Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino, who is a Final Vote candidate. Victorino currently is in second place behind Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
Manuel said he has not decided who will be his starting pitcher.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.