Pujols Elbow Surgery Wednesday

Albert Pujols has made his medical decision, but the surgery may be less drastic than expected.

Late Tuesday afternoon, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols will undergo surgery to have five bone spurs removed from his right elbow on Wednesday.

A very brief press release from the club that followed calls confirms the surgery plans but calls the procedure "an arthoscopic debridement" with no specific mention of spurs.

Pujols was scheduled to visit famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama on Tuesday. It was feared by some that the examination would indicate Pujols might require immediate Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. That would have knocked the slugger out of the first half of the 2010 regular season, so this news of a lesser procedure would seem a relief for anxious Cardinals fans.

The reigning National League Most Valuable Player was in a similar situation 12 months ago. That time, he underwent nerve transposition surgery on his right elbow. Pujols put together a record-breaking first half in 2009 before his pace slowed after the All-Star Game, including a career-long home run drought that began on September 9. The right-handed hitter is still expected to be named the repeat MVP by a landslide next month.

The bone spurs are new news, as Pujols did not complain of that specific discomfort during the season, though there were reports he changed his training routine as a result of his elbow. The 29-year-old is still expected to require the ligament replacement surgery at some point to address a problem that first surfaced in 2003. Apparently that ultimate resolution will not be in 2009, however.

Rosenthal reports the Wednesday surgery will be performed by Andrews and Cardinals head team physician George Paletta in Birmingham. The Cardinals release mentions only Andrews.

Pujols is expected to be fully recovered by the start of spring training according to the FOX article.

(Updated Tuesday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m. Central.)

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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