Albert Pujols to the White Sox? Manager Tony La Russa all but ruled it out.
Speaking before Friday night’s game against the Royals in Kansas City, Missouri, La Russa said “there’s not a fit here, unfortunately.” The Angels designated Pujols for assignment Thursday, and some speculation circulated that he might be reunited with La Russa after 11 years and two World Series titles in St. Louis.
It doesn’t sound like that will be happening.
Though the Sox need reinforcements after the long-term injuries to Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez, they appear set at first base and designated hitter with Jose Abreu and Yermin Mercedes, respectively. They also can deploy Zack Collins, Andrew Vaughn or Yasmani Grandal at first, and the DH spot can be used by anybody else who needs to get off their feet but stay in the lineup.
Still, La Russa had nothing but praise for the future Hall of Famer.
“If somebody acquires him, they’ll get a very determined [player],” La Russa said. “A very determined, Albert is. I hope it’s in another league or a different division because I would never underestimate him.”
Pujols, 41, hasn’t been the same player since leaving the Cardinals after the 2011 season, and it’s questionable how much he would help the Sox if there were a spot for him.
The second half of his career has been a far cry from his time in St. Louis, and Pujols was cut by the Angels after playing 24 games this year with a .198 average, .250 on-base percentage and .372 slugging percentage.
La Russa said he spoke with Pujols, and both are confident he can still play.
“Albert’s got game left,” La Russa said. “He said it, and I believe it.”
Garrett Crochet (upper back strain) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. Though he didn’t want to miss time, Crochet said he was able to use the period in which he was sidelined to smooth out his delivery.
“Just being able to get the mound work midseason I felt was awesome,” Crochet said. “I feel like it helped me nip a lot of things in the bud.”
Watching video, Crochet said he noticed his arm slot was climbing higher than he would like, which would lead to him using his back more. But he said he didn’t notice anything else before suffering the injury.
In a corresponding move, right-hander Alex McRae was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.
Eaton on Eaton
Adam Eaton was back in the lineup after being held out Wednesday with leg issues. Eaton said he is fine and is trying to feel his way through.
Eaton started the season well but entered Friday hitting .103 over his last eight games. Laughing, Eaton remarked he’d like to say injuries have affected his performance and did volunteer that maybe they are a little bit “subconsciously,” but he said that’s no excuse.
Adjusting to a new swing, Eaton also has swung at bad pitches, which isn’t helping.
“We’re kind of back to the drawing board a little bit and try to get some more at-bats, have some more feedback, get some more intel and continue to push forward,” he said.