Last night in the sixth inning, a Pete Kozma throw drifted away from first base. After catching it and tagging the runner, Albert Pujols collapsed in pain.
My first reaction at the time was that it reminded me of the type of hit my favorite player, Scott Rolen, took a couple times. He wasn’t the same player for years. Thankfully, it’s not the same injury.
The verdict? Pujols will miss approximately six weeks with a broken bone just above his left wrist.
So where does this leave the Cardinals as they now have to consider a month and a half without the man who has been the best player in baseball over the last decade?
For many fans, their eyes are on the basement as they contemplate a life without the best player in baseball. How can the Cardinals even come close to contending without the team’s game changer? Teams and pitchers alter their approach to the Cardinals lineup because of Pujols’ appearance in it. Now they don’t have to worry about it and as a result, the lineup becomes easier to get through.
While I won’t deny that the Cardinals lineup is easier without Pujols sitting in the #3 spot, the season is far from over.
As discussion hit several Cardinals forums about whether it was time to shake up the roster or not, we got our answer from the organization. It was.
It is being reported that the Cardinals will recall Pete Kozma and Maikel Cleto from Memphis and Springfield, respectively.
In return, Mark Hamilton and Tyler Greene will head back to Memphis.
Many wondered why Mark Hamilton was still on the major league roster as he struggled mightily, having gone hitless in his last 18 at bats dating back to May 4th. Hamilton returns to his .391 batting average in Memphis which, while it doesn’t quality for the leaderboard, would put him second in the Pacific Coast League.
Tyler Greene, 2005′s first round draft pick, struggled to capitalize on his role with the major league club. Given nearly the same number of plate appearances as he received spread over each of the last two seasons, Greene is hitting just .198 in those 117 plate appearances.
Kozma will get his second cup of coffee with the Cardinals this season. In his last stint he hit an RBI double in his first major league AB and then walked later in the game. However, he was hitless since that point, having gone just 1-for-8 in 10 game appearances. He is just as versatile in the field as Greene, playing both middle infield positions and having made an inning-long appearance at third base, but will be given his opportunity to capture a bench role. Though with Nick Punto and David Freese both getting ready to make their first rehab appearances, Kozma’s time is once again expected to be limited.
Maikel Cleto on the other hand had a disastrous beginning to his major league career. In just two innings of work, Cleto allowed two home runs and 5 earned runs. That gives him a sizable ERA of 22.50. The right-handed flamethrower ought to improve on that as he struggled early in that appearance and then got better as he threw. He will help bring a fresh arm to a recently overworked bullpen.
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