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Albert Pujols Headed For Tommy John Surgery?

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With fantasy drafts getting underway, one of the top 1st round discussions is the placement of Cardinals' MVP candidate Albert Pujols. Injuries have sapped the SB potential he showed in 2005 and have knocked him from the perch as the top player in fantasy baseball. Now more rumors are swirling that could jeopardize his 2008.

In reaction to being included on a since-discredited list of players who would appear in the Mitchell Report, Albert told the media he will no longer play through injuries as he has for the past few seasons. This has spawned the latest rumor about needing Tommy John surgery.

From MLBnewsonline.com:

The hushed voice of KMOX sports reporter Kevin Wheeler has joined the whispers in St. Louis that Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols may be headed for a fall, not merely because Pujols has been playing with foot, leg and various other aches and pains in recent years but because far more serious trouble awaits him.

"Albert is the perfect hitter," says Wheeler, who hosts the weekly program "Rating the Cards" on the 50,000-watt voice of the midwest. "...The only concern about Albert's ability to put up big offensive numbers is his health.

"He was already voicing concern about his right elbow, which probably needs Tommy John surgery, and if that elbow (or the back or the hammies) give him significant trouble...he might not be able to battle through the pain again."

Speculation is growing that Dominican slugger may miss significant portions or perhaps even all of the season, though it doesn't seem to make sense that Pujols would have waited this late to make the decision to undergo invasive medical procedures had he not already committed to try to play in 2008.

Even Wheeler can't come to terms with the idea of Pujols going down, projecting him to hit .330 with 40 homers this year if all goes well.

"The scariest thing I've heard in a long time, relating to the Cards, was Albert saying he can't do what he did last year again. Just hope and pray the offseason of rest did him well," said Wheeler, whose broadcasts can be heard across more than 30 states at 1120 on the AM dial.

The question fantasy players have to deal with is how much this report from a radio personality is new information and how much it just has its source in the Albert press conference. No fantasy player who has drafted Albert Pujols wants this to be new info because it means there 1st round pick in 2008 was just flushed down the toilet.

Those who have not drafted are stuck. Do you play it conservatively and draft Chase Utley or Matt Holliday a couple slots higher just in case the info it new?

Paging Will Carroll. Paging Will Carroll.