After a rare missed start, Albert Pujols expects to return to the lineup on Sunday.
Pujols missed his third start of the season Saturday with a strained left shoulder as the NL-leading Cardinals were without five opening day starters en route to a 6-5 loss to the Cubs.
Pujols came in as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, drew an intentional walk and scored a run. He remained in the game but his liner to the shortstop in the ninth with two on turned into a game-ending double play.
The All-Star first baseman, who is second in the league in hitting (.339), third in RBIs (78) and tied for fourth in homers (26), claims there was a “miscommunication” about the injury.
“You didn’t see me swing?” Pujols said. “I feel fine. Like I say, can you guys change the subject?”
He also pointed out that despite the depleted lineup, the Cardinals threatened in the loss, and hold a 12-game lead in the NL Central.
“Who cares about it?” said Pujols about the injuries. “We’re winning with those guys out there, we’re 11-12 games up and we don’t have to worry about these guys playing the game hard.”
Lee continued his stellar run by hitting his major league-leading 32nd homer for the third-place Cubs, who halted a three-game skid and are hoping to contend for the NL wild card.
“We’ve got to start winning eight or nine out of 10 to get into these playoffs,” said Lee, who matched his career high for home runs in a season, set last year. “It was a huge game for us. We just have to find a way to put it together and keep it together.”
Lee is 11-for-31 during a seven-game hitting streak with five homers and nine RBIs, and is batting a major league-best .370.