Pujols leaves with left calf tightness
Slugger may have injured himself in first inning on Tuesday
WASHINGTON -- Albert Pujols was removed from Tuesday night's game against the Nationals due to what the Cardinals described as tightness in the slugger's left calf. The exact severity of the injury is still not entirely clear, even to Pujols himself.
"We'll see tomorrow," Pujols said. "Right now, I can't tell you."
Following a one-hour, 56-minute rain delay at Nationals Park, Pujols came to bat in the top of the fourth inning. He was hit in the back by a pitch and took his base, but was immediately removed for pinch-runner Rick Ankiel.
"He felt a little something in his calf," manager Tony La Russa said. "So he took the at-bat, but Ank was going to play anyway. We'll have to see how his calf is tomorrow."
Pujols appeared to be bothered by the condition as early as the first inning, when he barely beat out a ball that Nationals second baseman Felipe Lopez bobbled. He flied out to right field in the second before making his plate appearance and being removed in the fourth.
Pujols, 28, has appeared in every game but one this season. It was not immediately clear whether he would be sidelined beyond Tuesday night. Pujols would not speculate even as to whether he would be available on Wednesday.
"If I feel good, I'll play," he said. "If I don't feel good [then I won't.]"
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.