The million dollar question of the Cardinals’ 2010 season seems to be this: If Albert Pujols can put up the numbers that he has in his career despite having an elbow injury since 2003, what will he be able to do now that he’s healthy?
Pujols shed some light on the topic when he arrived at the Cards spring training camp Sunday with his family in tow, including his two-week-old son, Ezra.
The slugger said the pain has completely disappeared from his elbow since his October surgery to clean up bone spurs and remove bone chips.
“Only God and myself know how I feel. It’s so much better,” he told the media. “You take six bone spurs almost as big as your pinkie fingernail, that’s pretty huge. Some of the pieces, I remember Dr. Andrews and Dr. Paletta saying, ‘I can’t believe you could swing with these things.'”
Pujols said his doctors told him there was a good chance he would never have to have Tommy John surgery.
“It’s good news, Dr. Andrews telling me, ‘Probably, you will never have to worry about the Tommy John.’ That’s good news. I feel great, and I can see the difference.”
However, Pujols sounded less than pleased when talk turned to the ever-present questions about his contract, which is in its last year, with an option for 2011.
“I don’t want to talk about that right now,” he said. “It’s been the talk for the last three years, and it’s getting to the point that it’s getting irritating to talk about my contract. Let’s wait until something happens, and then we’re going to have all the answers and you can throw every question you want. As of right now, I don’t want to talk about it because I’m so sick and tired of everybody talking about my contract or writing about my contract every time.
Pujols repeated what he’s been saying for months, that he’s in no hurry to negotiate.
“Both of the sides have talked. Whenever they’re ready, we are ready. Whenever I’m ready, then I’m ready. I can’t control that.”
In addition to meeting with the media, Pujols hit the field Sunday and spent some time with new hitting coach Mark McGwire. Pujols said he’s ready to go.
“I think the only limitation is myself,” he said. “I think I need to continue to make sure I don’t try to do too much, but pretty much everything. I’m going to be able to throw and hit. I’ve been doing it for almost, I would say, six weeks with no pain. Everything’s good, so I’m really excited.”
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