Found January 14, 2013 on
MLB Injury News:
Players and teams have a difficult choice when the World Baseball Classic rolls around. Should superstars play in the tournament held just before the Major League season starts, or should they be with their respective teams preparing for the season? It's a difficult decision especially when injury concerns are factored in, but it seems the decision has been made in Albert Pujols' case. Regardless of what the Los Angeles Angels may think.
According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, Pujols plans to play in the WBC. His teammates, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout will not be playing, though. Pujols will play for his home country, the Dominican Republic, if his knee continues to hold up. He underwent arthroscopic surgery shortly after the 2012 season ended.
The knee injury should have the Angels concerned. Pujols could be putting himself at undue risk by playing in the WBC, but unless there is something written into his contract, there isn't much the team can do. Every few years, players have the opportunity to represent their home country in this newly-created tournament, and they take pride in doing so. Pujols is no different. And he is one of the biggest stars in the game. Fans want to see him play.
Pujols struggled in his first season with the Angels. He had to adjust to the less-than-hitter-friendly dimension of the team's home ballpark compared with that of St. Louis', and finished with a .285/.343/.516 line. He still managed to hit 30 home runs to keep his streak of consecutive seasons with at least 30 home runs alive.
In his career, Pujols is a .325/.414/.608 hitter. He has 475 home runs. He is one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen, but there is a concern that as he continues to age, his numbers will fall off. They have already dropped in the last two seasons. Perhaps playing in the WBC will be a good thing and jump start him for the 2013 season.
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