Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pujols on elbow ligament, "If it blows out it's going to blow out."

There have been rumblings over the last few months regarding serious injury concerns with Albert Pujols. This week, Fox's Ken Rosenthal has weighed in on the issue and in his blog today's Buster Olney says the injury concerns are "very real." All of this was speculation until Pujols himself commented on the status of his elbow today to the AP.

"If it blows out it's going to blow out," Pujols said. "You can't control that." Not exactly a stunning endorsement, or something you hang onto confidently when you go draft Pujols in the first round of your fantasy draft. Pujols also stated that the injury is not something that could easily be cleaned up because the problem is indeed with his elbow ligament.

Manager Tony LaRussa said "Talking to the trainers this morning one of the biggest issues will be throwing so we'll be on the careful side of really firing it. He could make a swing that could tweak it, too. It's one of those deals." So basically what LaRussa is saying is that if Pujols can avoid throwing and swinging, he should be fine.

It appears that the All-Star slugging first baseman will need elbow ligament replacement surgery, making the the question not 'if' but rather 'when' he will go under the knife. The surgery would effectively end his season and given that the Cardinals may not be competitve this season, there is a good chance Pujols could undergo surgery come June or July.

Fantasy Fallout

I think its a safe bet that Pujols should now be listed a guy to avoid come draft time. It might sounds nuts, but you need to ask yourself if it is worth using your most valuable pick on a player that could go down at anytime during the course of the season.

Remember, this is your first round stud and the guy that will be counted on to lead your team into the playoffs. If Pujols season ends in June or July it is next to impossible to replace his bat late in the fantasy season. There are a number of safer picks in the first round that don't carry Pujols' injury baggage.

By the way, should Pujols go down, former Yankee great Josh Phelps would replace him at first base...

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