Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is likely to miss the start of the upcoming MLB season, since he is still recovering from right foot surgery.
Pujols spent the last month of the 2015 season as a designated hitter because he was suffering from foot pain. He finally sorted out the problem when he went under the knife in November.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed that the 36-year-old has been practising his swings, but added that it will still take him some time before he is fully fit.
“The doctors have given the timeline, but if you know Albert, you know he always come back quicker than the timeline given,” Scioscia told reporters on Thursday. “But we’re definitely not going to sacrifice a lion’s share of the season to get him back maybe two weeks before he should.”
When the three-time National League MVP does make his comeback, Scioscia conceded that he will likely remain as a designated hitter as they don’t want him to aggravate the injury by playing on first base.
“The biggest thing we need from Albert is to hit in the middle of our lineup and get his at-bats,” Scioscia said. “We’re a better team with him playing first base. But I would rather sacrifice that defensive component he brings than to put the offensive component at risk.”
Despite his injury, Pujols still managed to hit 40 home runs in a season for the first time since 2010 and Scioscia believes that the Angels’ chances of having a successful season will increase once Pujols makes his return.
“I think we have more contact on this team,” he said. “Depending on how it folds out, there is a possibility for more team speed. I think in some spots are defense is going to be better. I think there are a lot of positives we’re going to be excited about.”
The Angels will kick off their 2016 MLB season against the Chicago Cubs on April 4.