Pujols left Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros when he injured his left hamstring running the bases in the sixth inning.
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa all but ruled the defending NL batting champion out of the four-game set with the Cubs.
“I’d be very surprised if he’s ready to go in the next couple of days maybe or even the whole series,” La Russa said. “If you told me right now he’d play next weekend, I’d take that immediately.”
Dr. George Paletta, the Cardinals’ team physician, said Pujols will have an MRI exam Monday morning.
“We’re looking at a couple of days for sure,” Paletta said. “We’ll see tomorrow.”
Pujols has had at least four hits in three of his last nine games, batting .559 (19-for-34) with five homers and 11 RBIs during that stretch. After a slow start this season, he was tied for the major league lead with 17 homers and was batting .325 with 40 RBIs.
“I’m a little disappointed but what can you do?” Pujols said. “It was a little tight today but I stretched and did the same routine I’ve been doing. When something is going to happen to you, it’s going to happen.”
La Russa said utility man John Mabry would likely fill Pujols’ spot at first.
The Cardinals had won six straight before falling to the Astros 3-2 on Sunday. Backup catcher Cody McKay drove in both St. Louis runs with a two-run single in the sixth.
St. Louis now enters a seven-game road trip having won nine of their last 11.
”(Pujols is) a big part of our lineup,” Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen said. “But if he’s not in there we can’t hang our heads.”
The Cubs have won two straight following a three-game losing streak.
Chicago has won just four of its past 12 games.