Pujols to have elbow procedure

ST. LOUIS -- For the second straight offseason, Albert Pujols will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow.

The St. Louis Cardinals said Tuesday in a brief news release that the two-time NL MVP will undergo a debridement procedure -- which could be used to shave bone spurs -- on Wednesday morning in Birmingham, Ala., at a medical facility under the direction of Dr. James Andrews.

The team said it will provide further details after the surgery.

Pujols is expected to be ready for spring training, according to ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Last October, Pujols underwent a 25-minute outpatient procedure to relieve nerve irritation in the elbow that led to numbness, tingling in his ring finger and pinkie, weakness in his grip and pain along the inside of the forearm. That procedure was done by Dr. George Paletta, the team physician.

The 29-year-old Pujols led the majors with 47 homers this season while batting .327 with 135 RBIs. But he didn't homer in his final 89 at-bats after Sept. 9, a drought that manager Tony La Russa attributed to teams pitching the slugger tough. The day after the Cardinals were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series, La Russa said he didn't think Pujols had any physical woes down the stretch.

Pujols has played for several seasons with a partially torn ligament in the elbow and isn't able to fully extend his arm. Fixing the problem completely would require elbow ligament replacement surgery that likely would sideline Pujols for months next season.

There has been talk of an extension for Pujols, but he said last week that he's in no hurry.

"We have not sat down to talk about contracts yet. Last week, the GM [John Mozeliak] called me and I told them to talk to my lawyer. But I reiterate that money is not everything, it's better to have a competitive team that can go to the postseason," he said.

Phone calls to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and La Russa were not immediately returned.

Buster Olney covers baseball for ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.