Albert Pujols’ recent hot streak hasn’t changed the legendary slugger’s mind about retirement, as Pujols told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that he is “still going to retire” at season’s end. Despite a 1.428 OPS in 53 plate appearances since the All-Star break and his ever-nearing proximity to some notable milestones, Pujols confirmed that he hasn’t thought about playing in 2023.
“I don’t get caught up in numbers. If you were going to tell me 22 years ago that I would be this close, I would have told you that you’re freakin’ crazy,” Pujols said. “My career has been amazing…I’ve had enough. I’m glad I made the announcement this was it when I signed. Really, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Pujols now has 692 career homers, making it a realistic possibility that he can pass Alex Rodriguez (696 homers) on the all-time list and perhaps even become the fourth player in history to reach the 700-homer threshold. After last night’s four-hit performance against the Diamondbacks, Pujols is also now second on the all-time total bases list, passing another Cardinals legend in Stan Musial. Interestingly, Nightengale also notes that Pujols’ desire to return to St. Louis led him to pass up on offers from three other teams this winter, even though those other clubs were offering either more playing time or more money than Pujols’ $2.5MM salary for 2022.
More from around the NL Central…
- Brewers utilityman Jace Peterson told reporters (including Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that he’ll start a three-game minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday, with an eye towards returning to the majors when the Brewers open a series with the Cubs on Friday. A left elbow sprain sent Peterson to the 10-day injured list on July 20, and since he had been bothered by a UCL injury prior to that IL placement, there was some concern that he would be sidelined deeper into September or even that his season could be threatened. However, Peterson is now on pace to continue what has been a quietly valuable season, as he has contributed both versatility all around the diamond and above-average offense (111 wRC+) in 241 plate appearances, batting .252/.325/.439 with eight home runs.
- Cubs manager David Ross provided updates on some injured players, telling MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian and other reporters that x-rays were negative on Patrick Wisdom’s left ring finger, and Wisdom is day to day. Wisdom suffered the injury on a slide into home plate in yesterday’s game. Wade Miley will also get back onto the mound and throw tomorrow, after experiencing some tightness in his left shoulder on Friday. Between two shoulder-related IL stints and some elbow tightness at the end of Spring Training, Miley has tossed only 19 innings in his first season in Chicago. Before this latest setback, Miley has pitched four rehab outings and seemed to be nearing a return, so it remains to be seen how much more time (if any) this recent bout of soreness could cost the veteran southpaw.
- Speaking of setbacks, Reds right-hander Connor Overton had a hamstring tweak while working out at the Reds’ Arizona training complex, manager David Bell told reporters (including The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale). A stress fracture in Overton’s lower back sent him to the 60-day injured list on May 19, and he has already been sidelined for well beyond the initial 6-to-8 week recovery timeline. A rehab assignment was still a ways away, as Overton had progressed only to long toss. Depending on the severity of Overton’s hamstring issue, the rookie is running short on time to make it back to the field before the end of the season.