ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Albert Pujols finally agreed he should wait till next year.
Pujols will miss the rest of the season to rest his injured left foot, the Los Angeles Angels announced Monday.
The $240 million slugger gave up his hope to play again next month when the team's medical staff and front office advised him to avoid rushing back to the lineup late in the Angels' dismal season. Pujols partially tore his left plantar fascia last month, and only recently got his foot out of a walking boot.
While sitting out the past three weeks, Pujols repeatedly said he hoped to return at some point in September, even if the Angels remained hopelessly out of contention. He eventually acknowledged the plan made sense only as a salve to his pride.
"It's not an easy decision, as competitive as I am," Pujols said at his locker before the Angels opened a series against Cleveland. "But I also understand that we (need) to look beyond the season."
The three-time NL MVP hasn't played since July 26, when he partially tore his troublesome plantar fascia while running in Oakland. Pujols had been rehabilitating the injury with hopes of playing in September, but the struggling Angels' inability to get into playoff contention made that plan increasingly pointless.
Pujols, who has 492 career homers and 1,498 RBIs, consulted with owner Arte Moreno and general manager Jerry Dipoto before agreeing to shut himself down for the season. Moreno still owes Pujols $212 million over the next eight years in the third-biggest contract in major league history.
"It was a decision of the organization, Arte and Jerry, because I don't make a decision here," said Pujols, who had career lows of 17 homers and 64 RBIs this year. "I put my uniform on and get ready to play. They said, 'This is what's best for the organization in the long run,' and they came and brought it to me. And I just told them, 'Whatever you guys want to do, I'm all for it.' It's definitely hard, as I want to be out there, but I also understand that I can't be selfish and put myself out there."