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Cards’ star expected to miss six weeks

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Associated Press
June 21, 2011
— Concluding a news briefing about Albert Pujols’ injury that killed the mood at Tony La Russa’s charity golf event, the St. Louis Cardinals manager let down his guard.

“I’m going to go find a place to cry,” La Russa said.


Pujols will be out an estimated six weeks with a fractured left wrist from a first-base collision over the weekend. Baseball will be without a three-time NL MVP and the Cardinals, tied for first in the NL Central, are left to absorb another devastating blow in a season marred by injuries.


“You can’t replace a player of his magnitude,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “It just seems like we’ve had to deal with one injury after another.


“We still have to find ways to win games, and that’s what we’ll do.”


The team announced the results of an MRI and CT scan Monday, one day after Pujols was injured during a home game against Kansas City. The injury is a non-displaced fracture of the left radius bone and his arm is in a splint.


Mozeliak said he hoped to have Pujols back by the beginning of August and the team anticipated no lingering effects from what the general manager described as a small fracture. Mozeliak said Pujols’ left shoulder was sore but no structural damage was found.


Though his .279 average is 50 points below his career numbers, Pujols was starting to heat up after a slow start and went 3 for 3 with a homer in his last at-bat on Sunday. He’s among the league leaders with 17 homers and 45 RBIs.


Pujols was hurt trying to make a tag after taking an off-line throw from second baseman Pete Kozma and the Royals’ Wilson Betemit collided with the glove hand.


“He hit me on my wrist and my shoulder,” Pujols said afterward. “He kind of jammed me back. It’s the toughest play to make as a first baseman. It’s a bang-bang play. I saw the replay a couple of times, but I didn’t really want to look at it.”


The 31-year-old Pujols is due to enter free agency this fall after rejecting a multiyear contract extension at the start of spring training. He will be placed on the 15-day disabled list for only the third time in his career and the Cardinals said they would announce a roster move before tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies.


Among the top options are first baseman-outfielder Mark Hamilton and infielder Tyler Greene, both of whom were optioned to Triple-A Memphis last week.


St. Louis was tied with the Brewers atop the NL Central despite the latest in a string of injuries.


Pujols was hurt three days after cleanup hitter Matt Holliday returned from a quadriceps injury that landed him on the 15-day disabled list, and Holliday also missed time following an appendectomy.


Third baseman David Freese, second baseman Skip Schumaker and pitcher Kyle McClellan also have missed significant time for a franchise that early in spring training lost 20-game winner Adam Wainwright for the season.


Lance Berkman took over at first base after the injury and could serve as the long-term fill-in at the position.


MLB rejects proposed Dodgers TV deal


Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday rejected a proposed television deal between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Fox Sports that voids a recent divorce settlement between team owner Frank McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie McCourt.


Selig said in a statement the TV contract would not be in the best interests of baseball and would further divert team assets to McCourt’s “personal needs.”


“Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans,” Selig wrote.


Selig’s decision fuels more uncertainty about the ownership of one of baseball’s most storied franchises. Frank McCourt has struggled to meet team payroll since the start of the season and without money from a TV deal, Selig could seize control of the Dodgers if McCourt doesn’t pay his bills.


Up next is a June 30 obligation, where deferred compensation for some former players is due. Among them is Manny Ramirez, who is owed nearly $7 million as part of a two-year, $45 million contract he signed with the Dodgers.


The McCourts reached an agreement last week that was contingent on Selig’s approval of a TV deal with Fox reported to be worth up to $3 billion. Under the settlement, Frank McCourt would receive $385 million upfront. However, the settlement terms showed about $150 million would be used toward paying attorneys’ fees, existing debt and an account that would be monitored by the divorce judge.


The Dodgers’ current TV deal with Fox expires in 2013.


Weekend crowds biggest since 2008


Major League Baseball has drawn its biggest weekend crowds in three years, boosted by sellouts at Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and the Coliseum.


Nearly 1.65 million fans saw games Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That made for the top attendance during a regular, 45-game weekend since Sept. 26-28, 2008.


The Chicago Cubs set a three-game attendance record by drawing over 126,000 fans to see the New York Yankees. The Oakland Athletics sold out all three games against the visiting San Francisco Giants. Boston, Seattle and Colorado also had sellouts for interleague matchups.



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