Not because his knee was in pain, not because his plantar fasciitis has been acting up. His son, A.J., has a big game.
“I wish I could be with my son in Cooperstown,” Pujols said Friday. “He’s in a tournament. He told me he’s going to be in Cooperstown before me.”
This was the third straight All-Star break Pujols has been able to spend at home after making eight straight All-Star teams from 2003-10 with the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I probably have more fun with my family,” he said.
The key question for the Angels is, what will having four days off mean for Pujols’ health? He won’t be in the field Friday night when the Angels begin the second half of the season with the first of three games against the Oakland A’s. Pujols is the designated hitter; Mark Trumbo is playing first base.
Pujols said he felt no different than he did Sunday in Seattle, “decent” by his standards. He never elaborates on the extent of his pain, and he declined to address the possibility of off-season surgery to repair the plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
His progress — or lack thereof — will be revealed the next time Pujols runs out of the batter’s box.
“Albert’s a guy that’s important to us and just like any player, you’re looking for things that are out of order,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “That doesn’t change with any player.”
It will take a lot for Pujols to maintain his history of success in the second half. He has a career batting average of .334 after the All-Star break, best among active players and fifth-highest all-time.