Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/21/11

Game one of six weeks of life without Albert Pujols begins for the St. Louis Cardinals as they entertain Philadelphia Tuesday night.



   For the next four-to-six weeks, the Cardinals and their fans will get a preview of what it might be like next year if first baseman Albert Pujols would elect to sign elsewhere as a free agent.


   The previously quoted time frame is the estimated amount of time Pujols will miss after MRI exam and CT scans Monday determined that Pujols suffered a non-displaced fracture of the radius bone in his left forearm.


   Pujols' arm will be placed in a splint and he will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, with a corresponding roster move to be made Tuesday before the Cardinals start a key three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies.


   Pujols was injured when Wilson Betemit of Kansas City ran into Pujols while he was trying to field a one-hop throw from rookie second baseman Pete Kozma on Sunday.


   Pujols, who had just hit a dramatic home run, his 17th in his previous at-bat, came out of the game in the sixth because of pain in his left wrist and left shoulder, although the medical news on Monday was that Pujols hadn't suffered any structural damage to his shoulder.


   Veteran outfielder Lance Berkman, who has played much of his recent career at first base anyway, is expected to take over for Pujols.


   Outfielder Jon Jay will be the everyday right fielder, with impressive rookie Andrew Brown to see some time against left-handed pitching.


   But when general manager John Mozeliak was asked if Berkman would replace Pujols, he replied: "I wouldn't jump to that conclusion yet. The question is: How do we want to inject the new bat? As the six weeks come and go, there would be a chance to get Allen Craig (who is on the disabled list) work.  And this creates opportunity for Jon Jay."


   If Pujols would come back in less than a month, he would miss 19 games but possibly be ready for a key three-game series at Cincinnati on July 15-17, right after the All-Star break. (Editor's note: Early August is more likely.)


   It will be the Cardinals' last visit to Cincinnati this season.


   Pujols appeared in all 73 games the Cardinals have played this season and has  a .279 average, with 17 home runs and 45 runs batted in.


   His major-league record of 10 consecutive seasons from the start of his career of hitting .300 with 30 or more home runs and 100 or more RBI would seem to be in jeopardy.


   But the Cardinals will have 72 games left after the All-Star break. If Pujols could lift his average 21 points, he is about on target to reach the other two goals with a strong finish.


   Four to six weeks will be the longest Pujols has ever been on the disabled list in his career. He had two previous stays on the disabled list, in 2006 and 2008, when he right oblique and left calf strains, respectively.


   In 28 games that Pujols missed in those two seasons, the Cardinals were 14-14.




   --3B David Freese, out since May 1 because of a broken bone in his left hand, will begin what is targeted as a one-week rehabilitation assignment for Class AAA Memphis on Tuesday night. The Cardinals hope Freese can rejoin them for a six-game trip to Baltimore and Tampa Bay next week.


   --INF Nick Punto (strained right forearm) will be on assignment at Class AA Springfield, serving as the designated hitter for four games before going into the field.


   --The Cardinals have 13 pitchers on the roster and manager Tony La Russa said he would expect to keep that many through the completion of interleague play on July 3 at Tampa Bay. The Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies will be the only National League teams not engaging in interleague play for the next three days.


   --RHP Kyle McClellan on Tuesday will make his second start since coming off the disabled list after healing from a strained left hip. McClellan said he felt comfortable and his hip was not affected after he moved six to eight inches to his left on the pitching rubber in his last start. In essence, McClellan (6-3), who was only moderately effective in that start, won't be throwing across his body as much.


   --SS Ryan Theriot has hit safely in 13 consecutive home games. In that time, he is 20-for-40.


   --OF-1B Lance Berkman has been sporting ice bags on virtually every part of his body but has played 12 games in a row. Asked what hurt, Berkman said, "What isn't? I mean every joint, pretty much."


   BY THE NUMBERS: 26-19 -- Cardinals' record in night games. They will play 16 of their next 19 games  at night before the All-Star break.


   QUOTE TO NOTE: "One of the things we wanted to do is score more runs this year. Losing our No. 3 hitter makes that more difficult. Does that change how we look at things going forward (approaching the trade deadline)? In the last 48 hours, it has."


-- General manager John Mozeliak, on losing 1B Albert Pujols for four-to-six weeks with a left forearm fracture.






   --1B Albert Pujols (sprained left wrist) left the June 19 game. He was scheduled to have X-rays and an MRI on June 20. Pujols was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the radius bone in his left forearm and was expected to miss four-to-six weeks.


   --RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. An MRI exam revealed no structural damage.


   --OF Allen Craig (bruised right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8. He will be out until July.


   --C Gerald Laird (broken right index finger) went on the 15-day disabled list May 23. He will be out until July.


   --INF Nick Punto (right forearm flexor strain) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18. He began his rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on June 20.


   --3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He had surgery May 3. He is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on June 21, and he hopes to rejoin the Cardinals in late June.


   --RHP Bryan Augenstein (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 16. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Palm Beach on June 7 and is now with Memphis.


   --RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.




Tue., June 21 vs. PHILLIES: Kyle McClellan (6-3, 3.96) vs. Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.56) 7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

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