6/30/2013 2:09 P.M. ET
Pujols adjusting to life as everyday designated hitter
By Chris Abshire / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols is still getting used to that label before his name.
The longtime first baseman only saw action in the field four times during June as the team tries to let his lingering knee and foot issues heal.
Pujols said Sunday that he could play first regularly but would rather be able to be pain-free and in the lineup every day.
"It'd be really selfish for me to be out there in the field, even though I can move around pretty good, but I might be sore the next day and it would affect me," he said. "I try to not think about what I want. I can still help this club from the offensive side. I can go and play first all year. But is that the best for our ballclub? No. That's how I look at it."
Pujols said back-to-back days at first are the toughest for his various aches. He only played consecutive games at the position once in June.
"I feel good every time I play first," Pujols said. "It's two or three times in a row, putting a lot of torque in my heel. If I can, then I'll play. As long as I'm in the lineup, then I'm happy."
The extra rest hasn't necessarily helped during a down year at the plate.
At the halfway point of the season, the slugger is on pace for his lowest season totals in hits, home runs, runs scored, doubles and RBIs. His .249 batting average is more than 70 points below his career mark.
"His production has been definitely influenced by what's going on with his body," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "I think he's doing a remarkable job of still generating bat speed and being that fixture in the middle of the lineup.
"Is he the same player of three, four, five years ago?" Scioscia said. "He's not in that neighborhood right now, but he's still tremendously effective."
Pujols has also had to adjust to another unfamiliar sight: Teams have been pitching around Mike Trout to get to him, especially during a recent 3-for-30 slump.
"He's one of the best hitters in the game," Pujols said of Trout. "Wouldn't you do the same thing? It probably won't be the last time they do it, either. I'll get used to it."
Bourjos headed to DL due to fractured right wrist
HOUSTON -- Injuries seem to be the only thing that can slow Peter Bourjos this season.
Unfortunately for the Angels, he can't seem to avoid them, as the center fielder is headed to the 15-day disabled list with a fracture in his right wrist that he suffered in the fourth inning of Saturday's 7-2 win against the Astros.
Bourjos said the injury is "non-displaced," meaning that he could theoretically play when the pain is manageable, but he is expected to miss at least two weeks.
"There'll be a DL time, and we'll see what the timeframe is," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Early indications are that it might be a shorter stint than we'd imagine because of where the fracture is. We're following the lead of our medical staff every step of the way."
Bourjos was plunked in the wrist by Houston righty Jordan Lyles, and he immediately recoiled in pain before jogging down to first. The 26-year-old stayed in and advanced to third, but was removed before the bottom half of the inning.
Saturday marked his first start after missing four games due to a left thumb that he bruised against Pittsburgh on Sunday. It's an especially frustrating setback given Bourjos' outstanding work at the plate, on the bases and with his glove this season.
He's produced a .326/.385/.450 line in 129 at-bats, swiped four bases and gobbled up nearly everything in center field.
"No doubt, I think there's a little frustration from Peter, because this is the best baseball he's played in his life," Scioscia said. "He's seen enough of the league to get comfortable and he is ready to take off in a lot of areas, like stealing bases and hitting as a table setter.
"When your confidence is slowed like that, it's frustrating for anyone. I know Pete wants to be in the middle of what we're doing."
J.B Shuck, who filled in for Bourjos during the thumb injury, will take Bourjos' place in the lineup, and Mike Trout will be the everyday center fielder, Scioscia said. Trout wasn't in the lineup on Sunday, his first day off this season.
Shuck is hitting .389 with eight RBIs over his last 12 games, but said he isn't necessarily happy to be back in the lineup considering the circumstances.
"It's awful. He just got back off his thumb," Shuck said. "He's been having a great year when he's in there and it's unfortunate. Hopefully, it's not that bad and he'll be back sooner rather than later."
Bourjos has already been on the disabled list once this season, as he missed six weeks in May and June with a hamstring strain.
Trout out of starting lineup for first time this season
HOUSTON -- It took Angels manager Mike Scioscia exactly half the season, but he finally left Mike Trout out of the lineup on Sunday.
Scioscia said Trout's been nursing a tight hamstring and, with the team having Monday off, it made sense to sit the prolific outfielder.
"You wouldn't even know [he's had the hamstring issue] by watching him," Scioscia said. "It's more of a proactive, precautionary decision than an injury. He'd be available today. We'd like to avoid him, and by Tuesday, he'll freshen up even more."
Trout had started all 81 games prior to Sunday, proving himself not only among baseball's best in productivity, but also in durability.
He's again among the league leaders in stolen bases (20), hits (104), batting average (.315), doubles (25) and RBIs (52) at the midway point while splitting time between center and left field.
"This is something that's going to happen from time to time," Scioscia said. "Mike's name is going to be in the lineup for a long time. He's very resilient. You would expect being as young as he is that he'll be able to play a lot, and he has. He takes good care of himself, but we can't run him down.
"A day like this comes along every once in a while, and we'll combine it with the off-day to give him a break."
Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.