St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, the 2005 National League Most Valuable Player, had surgery on his troublesome right elbow, the team announced yesterday.
The Cardinals said Pujols will begin his rehabilitation this week and "make his recovery" by spring training. Pujols, 28, underwent a 25-minute procedure to decompress and relocate the ulnar nerve in his right elbow, a joint that has given him problems since he strained a ligament there early in 2003. It had caused numbness, tingling in his ring finger and pinkie, weakness in his grip and pain along the inside of the forearm.
Despite those ailments, Pujols hit .357 last season, ranking second in the major leagues to the Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones, and led the Cardinals with 37 home runs and 116 RBIs.
The surgery "did not require reconstruction of the medial collateral ligament," the release from the club said. Such an operation might have sidelined Pujols for the first half of next season.
Indians: : Designated hitter Travis Hafner will undergo arthroscopic surgery today on the strained right shoulder that kept him on the disabled list for more than three months. Hafner hit .197 with five homers and 24 RBIs in 57 games last season. He entered the 2008 season with a .290 career average and averaged 32 homers and 108 RBIs in the previous four seasons.
Fines:: Manny Ramirez and Dodgers teammate Hiroki Kuroda were among four players fined by Major League Baseball for the Game 3 fracas between Los Angeles and the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Championship Series. Kuroda threw a pitch behind Shane Victorino's head in the third inning Sunday, apparently retaliation for Philadelphia's Brett Myers throwing behind Ramirez in Game 2. Benches and bullpens cleared, but there were no ejections. Kuroda was fined $7,500, Ramirez was docked $2,500, first base coach Mariano Duncan got $1,000 and third base coach Larry Bowa $500, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. Victorino was fined $2,500 and first base coach Davey Lopes and reliever J.C. Romero $1,000 each, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Royals:: Kansas City hired former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons as bench coach and Kevin Seitzer as hitting coach.