How's this for an unpredictable twist in the Albert Pujols injury story—the hamstrung star didn't start in the St. Louis Cardinals' 6-5 loss to the Houston Astros Tuesday night, but he was available to pinch-hit—kind of—in the losing effort. In the eighth inning, with the game tied, Pujols was brought in to pinch-hit for infielder Tyler Greene with a runner on second base and two outs. He was predictably—and according to Tony La Russa by design—intentionally walked, which led to Colby Rasmus's inning-ending out.
It's an interesting move by La Russa, who in explaining it seems to suggest that he traded Pujols for an extra out in the lineup, skipping Tyler Greene to get to Colby Rasmus. If you know somebody's going to be intentionally walked, even when they have trouble intentionally walking, it's something that can be gamed, and La Russa's thought process—if not the results—makes a lot of sense with a star still on the mend.
Pujols remained in the game at first base, which means he's likely to be available for Wednesday's game against the Astros.