DETROIT -- Albert Pujols might be available to pinch-hit in "the right situation," but manager Mike Scioscia said the slugger will not be starting for the rest of the Angels' three-game set against the Tigers.
Pujols had hoped to return to the lineup for Saturday's contest against the Tigers. He took batting practice Friday for the first time since being removed from Wednesday's game in Boston with right calf inflammation and he appeared to be on track to face left-hander Drew Smyly.
Scioscia had come into the clubhouse to ask Pujols if he was OK and if he felt he could play at first base or serve as designated hitter. Pujols said either, but first had to test it out running at Comerica Park.
His first time running since the injury apparently did not go as planned. Scioscia and Pujols decided he would sit out until the club returns home Tuesday.
"It's not setting up well enough to where you're comfortable having him go play with a governor on, and we're going to take advantage of these two days and the off-day, and hopefully move forward and see where it is on Tuesday," Scioscia said.
The Angels are gaining ground on the last American League Wild Card spot. They've put together a four-game winning streak -- two and a half games without Pujols -- and enter Saturday's game three game behind the A's. So with the risk still there, neither Scioscia nor Pujols is going to rush him back.
"He can pinch-hit for us if it's the right situation, but the thing about what he's dealing with is it's not like your shoulder's stiff or your neck is tight and you want to get a blow," Scioscia said. "Hopefully give it a couple days, we'll get to the point where we're more comfortable playing with a little governor on and just not being at risk of missing what could be a big part of the season."