Pujols has boot removed, hopeful to return this year

Pujols has boot removed, hopeful to return this year

ANAHEIM -- When Albert Pujols was placed on the disabled list with a partial tear of his plantar fascia, many assumed his season was done.

However, Pujols -- a fierce competitor -- never ruled out the possibility of a return.

The Angels' slugger spent the past three weeks in a walking boot, which was removed Friday, and he reiterated that there may be a little bit left to his season.

"I'm targeting a day and hopefully by that day, I feel good," Pujols said. "When I start hitting and doing more exercise, I think I'll have a pretty good idea. I have a day in my mind, but if it's not that day, then I have to see where it goes from there."

Although he wants to return to the lineup before the conclusion of the season, Pujols said he will be cautious and does not want to do anything that may result in a setback.

"Just going to take it day by day," Pujols said. "I don't want to go back to what I was just because I'm rushing. I'm listening to the doctor."

As Pujols recovers, the Jack Clark incident from a week ago is still lingering, but Pujols was not willing to revisit the comments made on the radio in St. Louis.

"I think it's disrespectful if I bring that distraction here," Pujols said. "I said what I said in my statement."

Clark said Pujols' ex-trainer used to "shoot him up" with performance-enhancing drugs on a radio show on WGNU 920AM.

Clark, who has since been fired, said he knows "for a fact" that Pujols used PEDs.

The trainer Clark referenced, Chris Mihlfeld, denied the allegations and released his own statement last Friday, in which he said he hasn't talked to Clark in "close to 10 years," and that the comments are "simply not true."

Pujols declined to clarify if he still plans to pursue legal action, he simply said, "what I said in there, I meant it. You guys will find out the rest later."

William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.