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Bad back knocks Pujols from start

JUPITER — While outfielder Matt Holliday returned for the Cardinals, first baseman Albert Pujols was out of the lineup again.

Pujols was scratched from a 13-8 victory over the Red Sox with back tightness. The three-time NL MVP got an anti-inflammatory shot and is expected to be out of action for the next couple of days.

"He received an MRI (Monday) and then an injection to put him over the hump, make him feel better," general manager John Mozeliak said. "He's day to day. We'll see how he feels on Wednesday."

The Cardinals are off today.

Pujols missed a week this spring because of lower back pain he described as feeling like spasms. He returned to play in five exhibition games.

"We are going to get it treated and take a look at it," manager Tony La Russa said. "I think right now if we take care of it, he should be fine."

Mozeliak said Pujols has felt some discomfort in recent days. Asked whether he thought the back could be a chronic concern this season, Mozeliak said: "I don't get that sense."

Holliday hit an RBI double in his first game since March 9. He was nursing a strained muscle in his rib cage.

LEE RECOVERING: Mariners left-hander Cliff Lee is scheduled to play catch today then be re-evaluated as he recovers from a lower right abdominal strain. Seattle postponed today's mound session for left-hander Erik Bedard that would have been his first since labrum surgery in August. The team said it was merely a precaution.

CHAPMAN HURT: Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman left the Reds' spring game against the Rockies with a stiff lower back. The left-hander, 22, said his back had been bothering him for about a week.

TRADE: The Brewers traded catcher Matt Treanor to the Rangers for infielder Ray Olmedo in a swap of players at spring training on minor-league contracts.

ANGELS: Hideki Matsui started in the outfield for the first time since June 2008 in preparation for occasional defensive duties this season. Matsui, 35, had been hindered by knee problems and been exclusively a DH for the Yankees.

A'S: Two-time All-Star right-hander Justin Duchscherer pitched four scoreless innings against the Mariners while facing major-league hitters for the first time in 19 months. Duchscherer, 32, called his spring debut "awesome." He missed all of 2009 because of elbow surgery and depression.

DODGERS: Manager Joe Torre suspended talks on a contract extension, saying he doesn't want it to become a distraction. … Former Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne was granted his release. The right-hander, 34, had a 20.25 ERA in three spring outings.

ROYALS: Centerfielder Rick Ankiel, out since March 12 with a sore right ankle, worked out a day after playing in a minor-league game and said he felt no pain. … Right-hander Gil Meche left after three innings with a sore right shoulder but said it wasn't serious.

TIGERS: Former Rays left-hander Bobby Seay will have several doctors review results of an MRI exam taken over the weekend. The reliever has yet to pitch in a spring game because of lingering shoulder pain.

Bad back knocks Pujols from start 03/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 22, 2010 8:51pm]
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