Clock ticking on talks between Cards, Pujols

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 3:29 PM ET

JUPITER, Fla. -- The St. Louis Cardinals and first baseman Albert Pujols are quickly approaching a deadline in their stalled contract negotiations.

General manager John Mozeliak said Monday that if the two sides cannot come to terms by Wednesday at noon (et), when Pujols reports to spring training, that further discussions will cease and Pujols will play out the final year of his contract.

"We have a really good club and he's a part of it, so we need to get ready," manager Tony LaRussa responded when asked about an unresolved situation becoming a potential distraction. "We're not going to allow ourselves to get distracted."

The deadline was pushed back one day to allow the focus to be placed solely on St. Louis legend Stan Musial, who will be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Tuesday.

If no deal is reached, the Cardinals would still have an exclusive negotiating window of five days after the conclusion of the World Series to try to re-sign the three-time Most Valuable Player.

"Its' the time in his career where he's got a choice to make," LaRussa continued. "He's as strong between the ears as anybody I've ever met, he's going to get ready to play the 2011 season. Negotiations are part of the business of baseball."


Videos

Photos