The first baseman had put the Cards ahead in the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo home run. He flipped the bat in apparent reaction to a brushback pitch earlier in the at-bat thrown by Royals' reliever Louis Coleman.
Then, a few minutes later, a much worse action occurred. In the top of the sixth, Pujols was removed from the game due to a sprain of his left wrist. A further examination is expected on Monday.
It happened this way. Kansas City's Wilson Betemit hit grounder to the right of second baseman Pete Kozma. The rookie spun and threw to Pujols but the throw was down the first base line toward home plate. The runner and first baseman collided with enough force to knock Pujols' glove off. He took a few steps and fell to the ground in pain. The Fathers' Day crowd of 41,660 went completely silent.
After Pujols was helped off the field, Lance Berkman came into the game and took over defensively. If a disabled list stint is required, a likely recall is Mark Hamilton. The first baseman was just sent down to Triple-A Memphis on Saturday but rules allow an immediate recall within the normal 10-day wait if the move is due to an injury to another.
A likely interim scenario would be Berkman starting at first with Jon Jay covering for Berkman in right field. Hamilton, if called up, would probably serve as a reserve. Outfielder Andrew Brown, already on the roster, also has experience at first base.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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