Down Goes Sir Albert
June 22, 2011 Leave a comment
I’ll save you from the “Machine is broken” talk. Albert is human and has feelings. Now, what does this non-displaced fracture of Albert Pujols’ left wrist mean for his future? The St. Louis Cardinals’ future? Baseball’s future?
Why, I do not know, but I cannot find any video of the injury. It would be right here.
Anyways, right off the bat (oh boy, puns), not much for baseball’s future. The League will miss Albert, but no rule changes or any of that baloney (ahem Buster Posey). Albert was out of position and was making an effort to get an out (Buster was out of position, off-balance) and an accident happened. I wouldn’t want to be in the wrong position at the wrong time this season, stars are falling. No rule changes here, no fuss.
Now for Sir Albert’s future, there are some legitimate question marks. Will his wrist and forearm properly heal? To his former strength? Will his swing be affected? The wrist is a joint, where the two bones of the forearm connect to the metacarpal hand bones. A non-displaced fracture of the wrist is most often a fracture of the radius, the bone that rotates with your thumb side. Of the two bones, the radius is larger and is more important in the wrist joint. Pujols bats and throws right-handed, which helps. As seen in the play where the injury occurred, his left and gloved hand was jammed into the base runner; aside from that play, no other future concerns in the field. Hitting may be a different story, but this is Albert Pujols people. His left arm is leading toward the pitcher as the hitter and takes care of the downward motion of the swing and the pull through. His broken wrist will have some short-term effect on his power, but he’s a good enough hitter to hit line drives and conserve some of the energy in that wrist. It will be sore of course, but with good rest and rehabilitation his wrist should heal, I expect it to be 100% for the 2012 season. Once he returns after the 4-6 weeks the Cardinals staff set, he’ll be good, but not his usual self. The majority of his power comes from his incredible hitting ability, and hand-eye-coordination, giving him all the power and skill in the world. If St. Louis makes the playoffs, Albert will find a way to be his dominant self.
Things aren’t so awful for the Cardinals, either. Tony LaRussa is an excellent manager, and this years team, is special for LaRussa. Nearly all of the position players play multiple positions, allowing LaRussa to plug-in different lineups, and they’re all playing well. Lance Berkman has played left, right and first and is having an incredible comeback season. The pitching staff has been able to plug and chug new pitchers, and maintain a high level of play. Pujols’ contract is up after this year, after not resigning this off-season. As I’m writing this, St. Louis is half a game up on the Brewers for 1st in the N.L. Central. Even with Pujols in a “slump”. For Albert, a .279 batting average is no bueno; but his 17 homeruns and 45 RBI are decent. Albert’s injury is a chance for the Cards to see what they have as a team, and potential see what life without Pujols could be like. Will Pujols resign with the Cards after the season? He most likely won’t get the 10 years he was asking for, but chances are he’ll be back in St. Louis next year. The Cards will be more than willing to bring their star back, with fewer questions than other clubs. If Albert Pujols gets away, shame on them.