Albert Pujols‘ bothersome left foot injury is about to cost the Los Angeles Angels slugger significant time out of the lineup.

According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Pujols has left the team and returned to Southern California to have his foot evaluated after suffering another setback Friday night:

The Angels are in Oakland this weekend for a critical series against the AL West-leading Athletics. Pujols was in the lineup Friday night and went 1-for-5, including a single that sent home two runs in the top of the ninth. When Pujols reached first base, however, Angels skipper Mike Scioscia was forced to send in Collin Cowgill as a pinch runner.

Pujols, in his second season in Los Angeles, has struggled throughout the 2013 campaign with plantar fasciitis. Though the 33-year-old slugger has stayed in the lineup on almost an everyday basis, DiGiovanna is speculating this latest setback will likely send him to the disabled list:

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register had the Los Angeles skipper’s quote on Pujols’ status, agreeing with DiGiovanna’s expectation of a DL stint:

Pujols has missed just two games all season, but the affect of Pujols’ lingering foot injury has been apparent. The slugger’s bout with plantar fasciitis has rendered him unable to play the field for much of the season and significantly affected his plate approach. The injury has gotten to the point he’s even talked about the possibility of offseason surgery with Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

“When we get to that point, we’ll talk about it,” Pujols said. “I’m definitely going to try to do something after the season to help me out and not play in that pain I’ve been playing in. There’s no doubt that I’ll be a full-time first baseman next year.”

Pujols is batting a career-low .258 this season with 17 home runs and 64 RBI. At his current pace, Pujols would fail to reach 30 home runs for the first time in his career.

Having signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Angels before the 2012 season, Pujols’ first two years in Los Angeles have been a struggle. He needed a torrid end to the season to reach 30 home runs and 100 RBI last year, as he set career lows in batting average and on-base percentage.

The former St. Louis Cardinals great has been a significant factor in the Angels’ disappointing 2013 season as well. The high-priced squad is 48-53 heading into Saturday’s action, 11 games behind the Athletics. Los Angeles is also 8.5 games out of the second wild-card spot.


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