ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing arthroscopic debridement of his left knee Wednesday in Los Angeles. The surgery, which was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, carries a recovery period of six to eight weeks. General manager Billy Eppler said Pujols is expected to be ready by Spring Training.
Pujols, 38, battled knee pain throughout the season and received a platelet-rich plasma injection after landing on the disabled list in July with left knee inflammation. At the time, manager Mike Scioscia estimated that Pujols was playing at 50 percent.
"Albert is one of the most durable players I've ever seen or been around," Eppler said. "I don't know if there was a day this season that you would have said he's 100 percent, but he plays through a lot. He plays through discomfort. He endures a lot and doesn't talk a lot about it. But I can tell you that he's definitely someone that wants to play and fights through a lot of adversity to make sure he's out there and contributing to the club."
Pujols will finish the season batting .245 with a .700 OPS, 19 home runs and 64 RBIs in 117 games for the Angels. To accommodate Shohei Ohtani at the designated hitter spot, Pujols had been shouldering a heavier workload at first base this season. He started 70 games there in 2018, more than his previous two years combined (34), though Eppler said "it's really difficult to say" what kind of toll that ultimately took on Pujols.
Pujols has been hampered by lower-body injuries since signing a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels in December 2011. He underwent knee surgery after the 2012 season and missed the final two months of the 2013 campaign after tearing the plantar fascia in his left foot. Pujols also required surgeries on his right foot after the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Pujols finally enjoyed an offseason without rehab last winter, allowing him to focus on his conditioning and take part in a normal winter workout regimen. He reported to Spring Training looking noticeably trimmer and said he lost 13 to 15 pounds. Eppler said the desire to have another normal offseason played into Pujols' decision to have the surgery now.
"This last winter he had the time to do a more standard offseason regimen, and I think that showed in how he reported to camp," Eppler said. "It showed in how he came out of the gates. That's a little bit of the impetus behind getting the surgery done now, so he can have that same timetable this winter."
Pujols is signed through 2021 and is owed $87 million over the final three years of his contract.
With Pujols sidelined, Ohtani will be free to serve as the Angels' everyday DH, at least until he resumes pitching. Eppler said Jefry Marte and Kaleb Cowart will both see time at first base for now, though there's also a chance that Matt Thaiss, the Angels' No. 5 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, could join the club after rosters expand Saturday.
Thaiss, the Angels' first-round Draft pick in 2016, is batting .282 with an .810 OPS and 16 home runs in 120 games between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake this season.