Angels first baseman Albert Pujols had surgery last week to “repair the planter plate in his right foot,” per a team announcement. He’s expected to return to full baseball activities in four-and-a-half months, according to the release.
That timeline suggests that Pujols will miss some time early in the season. With the Halos’ season set to kick off on April 5th, Pujols would not have much time to ramp up in preparation for regular duties. And he’ll obviously be out for most or all of the Cactus League action.
Pujols had struggled with a right toe issue late in the year, sticking to a DH role down the stretch. The Hall-of-Fame-bound slugger, 35, ended the season with a .244/.307/.480 batting line with 40 home runs. He initially tried to rest the foot after the season, new GM Billy Eppler tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, but with insufficient improvement elected to undergo the procedure.
While the Halos obviously will hope to get Pujols back as soon as possible, the team will also surely be cautious. After all, the veteran is still owed $165MM over six seasons. His long-term health will certainly have a major bearing on how much value he can provide on the back end of his huge free agent deal.
The Angels do not expect to adjust their offseason approach in light of the news, Eppler added in his comments. The club views C.J. Cron as a viable option at first, and he’ll presumably fill in while Pujols works back into the lineup and, eventually, duties in the infield.