MLB notebook: Angels shut down injured Albert Pujols

Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols gestures towards the New York Yankees dugout during...

Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols gestures towards the New York Yankees dugout during MLB play in Anaheim, California June 14, 2013. (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:17 PM ET

Albert Pujols’ season has officially been put on ice.

The Los Angeles Angels announced Monday night they’ve shut down the three-time National League MVP for the season.

“It was not an easy decision, as competitive of a player as I am,” Pujols told reporters. “But I also understand wanting to look past this season.”

Shelved since July 26, Pujols, 33, has been nursing a partial tear in his left foot for months. A protective boot was removed last Friday and the nine-time all-star said he is “feeling pretty good.”

However, a brief September return is not worth the risk, according to the club.

The Angels haven’t made the post-season since 2009 and were 55-69 going into Tuesday’s MLB schedule.

Pujols, who is a mere eight dingers shy of 500 career home runs, was hitting .258 with 17 jacks and 64 RBIs before the injury.

SANTANA PREPPING FOR ‘14

New York Mets south paw Johan Santana is optimistic about his chances of returning to the big-leagues for the 2014 season.

In an interview this week with New York Daily News, Santana’s agent, Chris Leible, said his client is slowly battling back from an ugly shoulder tear.

“He feels really good, which was not the case after the first surgery,” said Leible, referring to a similar injury in 2010. “He hopefully will be able to pick up a baseball when he returns (to his American home later in the summer).”

Currently, Santana, 34, is in Venezuela with family. The 2004 and 2006 National League Cy Young Award winner has not pitched an MLB game since last August.

Santana’s time with the Mets may be over since his six-year, $137.5 million contract expires at season’s end and there has not been much discussion surrounding an extension.

“I don’t think any of us at this point has any thoughts beyond (getting) him healthy,” Leible said in regards to Santana potentially re-signing instead of heading elsewhere.

“Let’s take the next step from there. The goal is to get him ready for spring training.”

STRASBURG AVOIDS SUSPENSION

On the same day Ryan Dempster was handed a five-game suspension for plunking Alex Rodriguez, Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg avoided further punishment.

Major League Baseball deemed Strasburg’s Saturday plunking of Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons unintentional, according to a Tuesday report from CSNWashington.com.

Strasburg and Nationals manager Davey Johnson were both ejected for the 25-year-old hurler’s second-inning actions. The inning prior, Strasburg received a warning after bopping Justin Upton.

“I can't really explain it,” Strasburg said of his control issues. “Just didn't really feel good out there and couldn't hit the spot.”

Nationals’ superstar Bryce Harper has been hit by the Braves pitching staff three separate times recently, prompting many to believe Strasburg had been seeking payback.

LATE PUIG FINED

Yasiel Puig, who was on top of the baseball world not too long ago, is having a tough go as of late.

The Los Angeles Dodgers rookie was not only benched Tuesday by manager Don Mattingly, but fined, too.

Puig showed up late to the ballpark in Miami, citing traffic as the reason why he wasn't on time. Mattingly took him into his office for a one-on-one meeting and decided to assess a fine.

“More than a dollar,” Mattingly told the Orange County Register, when asked about the fine amount. “Less than $10,000.”

Following a 0-for-5 performance Monday night, Puig’s batting average over his past 39 plate appearances dipped to an ugly .171. He has been inconsistent in the outfield as well, overthrowing cut-off men regularly.

“Yasiel's been struggling,” Mattingly said. “Actually, the whole front part of our lineup has been struggling.”

The odd thing about Puig’s recent misadventures is that it comes on the heels of a remarkable 42-8 Dodgers run in which the 22-year-old played a leading role.

Despite recent struggles, Puig still has impressive numbers, especially for a rookie. He is batting .351 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 67 games.

Puig is in the first season of a seven-year, $42 million contract with L.A.

ELMORE PITCHES, CATCHES

Outside perhaps the state of Texas, Jake Elmore isn’t a well-known big-leaguer.

But after playing a unique role in Monday’s Houston Astros-Texas Rangers game, he’s getting some attention.

The Astros shortstop played both pitcher and catcher as the woeful club was walloped 16-5 on the road. Elmore is only the 14th player in MLB history to pitch and catch in the same game.

Houston was without a catcher to start the fourth inning after Carlos Corporan left the game with a potential concussion. Elmore got the call and stayed behind the plate for four innings.

“I told (management) I could catch two weeks ago,” Elmore told MLB.com following the game, “so maybe if the game was out of hand, why not see if I actually can catch. Hopefully I did alright.”

Elmore, 26, was then assigned mound duty in the eighth. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

“I don’t know if you can call it a fastball,” he said of his pitching skills. “I was just throwing a little two-seamer and trying to keep it down in the zone to get ground balls.”

BRIEFLY

Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer was scratched from the lineup Tuesday after feeling dizzy during batting practice. Mauer took a number of foul tips off his mask in Monday’s game … Daisuke Matsuzaka was released by the Cleveland Indians Tuesday. The 32-year-old Japanese pitcher is now a free agent … Texas Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman’s 15-day stay on the disabled list has been extended. Berkman, sidelined since July 7 with a knee and hip problem but now healthy, will wait until MLB rosters are expanded Sept. 1 … Texas Rangers pitcher Alexi Oganda was placed on the disabled list Tuesday due to nerve inflammation in his shoulder.


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