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Cardinals activate Pujols off DL

July 6, 2011

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— Albert Pujols is more than just one of the best players in baseball. He’s also an incredibly rapid healer.

The St. Louis Cardinals activated their three-time NL MVP off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, a month ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken left wrist.

Pujols was not in the lineup Tuesday night against Cincinnati. But manager Tony La Russa said he expected Pujols would be in the lineup today.

“Thrilled,” La Russa said. “We all are. It’s about as good a break as we could catch.”

The NL Central leaders initially believed Pujols would be out six weeks after getting hurt June 19 in a collision at first base with the Royals’ Wilson Betemit. The Cardinals thought Pujols would be back in early August.

Tuesday was the first day Pujols was eligible to return from the DL. He said he’d predicted 15 days would be enough.

“Does it surprise you?” the star first baseman asked. “It doesn’t surprise me. A lot of people praying for me, and I believe all the prayers are being answered.

“That’s a good way to describe it.”

Reds manager Dusty Baker said he thought Pujols might be back early.

“I didn’t think it was going to take as long as they said originally, knowing Albert,” Baker said.

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