Fantasy baseball players, continue holding your breath: Albert Pujols will be starting at third base Monday night against the Philadelphia Phillies and left-hander Cliff Lee, according to a report from Rick Hummel. The sudden lineup shift comes after Allen Craig, now the right fielder, was initially penciled in for his second start at second base to get his bat in the lineup against Lee. It's Pujols's first start at the position since 2002.
Pujols, who played third base for a few innings earlier this year, was last the Cardinals' regular third baseman that year, when he split time there with Placido Polanco before the Scott Rolen trade that July. Lance Berkman will move to first base, while Nick Punto gets the start at second.
In 2001, Pujols was an agile, if not exceptionally rangy, third baseman who might have stuck there if he hadn't been such a brilliant hitter. In 2011, significantly larger and perpetually limping down the baselines, it's anybody's guess. Pujols was originally moved to first base—from left field—because of his elbow, which was supposed to be hanging on by a thread at the time. Presumably, hopefully, necessarily... it's better. Hummel has more from Tony La Russa at the link.
(Additional reading: Earlier this year we wrote up a look at Albert Pujols's third base career to date. We weren't expecting to have to update it.)