Pujols injured his right foot during a game on Aug. 28; almost a month later, his game-time performance is still suffering. Whereas the infielder is usually a strong hitter, with 35 homers and 83 RBIs under his belt, he’s been hitless for his last 20 trips to the plate!
Pujols put the blame on his drought squarely where it belongs: on his injury. "I can't drive off my back foot. I'm using my upper body a lot more. That's the reality… "I'm playing hurt. I'm going to play hurt."
Ignoring the elephant on the baseball diamond (it’s really never a good idea to play on an injured foot!) team manager Mike Scioscia seemed determined to keep him in the lineup—at least for the moment. "This has impacted what he needs to do in the box — he's not quite as crisp as he would be if he wasn't hurt," Scioscia said. "But he's still hitting the ball hard, he's putting the ball in play and giving us great at-bats. He's vital to what we need to do. It's there."
Like Scioscia, so many coaches and managers try to squeez even sub-par play from their injured star players, but in my mind it’s a grave mistake. Playing on an injured foot not only diminishes your performance, as Pujols explained so aptly, it also has a tendency to extend your recovery time AND decrease your likelihood of ever fully coming back to your peak performance ability.As frustrated as athlete’s feel when they must sit on the bench, doing so when injured may be the best decision they make in their entire career, whether professional or amateur. If you’re dealing with an athletic foot or ankle injury and want a doctor that will put your health and long-term career before all other considerations, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider immediately.