Monday, February 23, 2009

Albert Pujols' Elbow Still at Risk for Cardinals

So Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is unable to play in the World Baseball Classic because he is unable to obtain insurance. How conve-e-e-e-nient!

Sure, the story is true that Pujols is unable find a policy underwriter, and it is true that he claims that's why he won't play in the event, but it's very questionable whether he actually would have played even if he had obtained coverage.

Though last October's elbow surgery was successful in transposing or repositioning Pujols' ulnar collateral ligament -- the so-called Tommy John ligament -- another ligament remains nearly at the breaking point, and cannot be restored to full effectiveness with surgery or casual rehabilitation.

An independent medical analysis for MLB Newsonline suggests that the only reason Pujols can play with the injury is that he is not being asked to throw excessively. Were he a pitcher -- or perhaps even an outfielder or third baseman -- the ligament in all probability would have failed by now.

Though chances remain good that the ligament will remain intact, the fact remains that it could completely rupture at any time, throwing his durability into question.

After experiencing pain, Pujols recently took a week's rest from his rehabilitative regimen, and may be limited in his plate and field appearances through the remainder of camp.