LOS ANGELES -- One day after homering twice to tie Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place on the all-time list with 630, Angels first baseman Jose Pujols landed on the 10-day disabled list with left knee inflammation.
Manager Mike Scioscia said Friday that Pujols had been playing through knee trouble for a while, so the Angels decided to use the All-Star break to give the 38-year-old slugger an extended period of rest while only missing six games. Pujols also wouldn't have had the option to serve as the designated hitter this weekend, as the Angels will close out the first half with three games at Dodger Stadium.
Scioscia said Pujols received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his ailing knee on Friday and is expected to return from the DL after the requisite 10 days.
"This guy is such a gamer," Scioscia said. "He's been playing with it banged up for a while, and he's been very productive. This is really to try to get him to a little higher level, to make him more comfortable, maybe a little bit more durable on the knee, because he goes out there and plays at 50 percent. It's just to give him at a little higher percentage to where it's not at taxing. But he's going to play. There's no doubt about it. The way it's been for a while, he's played on it, he's played very well. We're very confident that this will help him."
Pujols is batting .251 with a .723 OPS, 16 home runs and a team-high 52 RBIs this season. In an effort to free up at-bats for Shohei Ohtani at the DH spot, Pujols has shouldered a heavier workload at first base. He already has 48 starts at first this year, more than his previous two years combined (34).
Pujols has dealt with several lower-body injuries since joining the Angels, though this marks his first DL stint since 2013.
"Albert at times is superhuman," Scioscia said. "He's been dealing with a lot of things, and he's played and he's played well with it. This has been bothering him for a while, but he's managed to stay in the lineup, play first base a lot, manage to do things that were important for the club. Hopefully this will move him a little bit forward."
The Angels recalled infielder Jose Fernandez from Triple-A Salt Lake to replace Pujols on the roster. Fernandez, a left-handed hitter, started at first base on Friday night against Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler in the Freeway Series opener. The Angels also optioned Michael Hermosillo and recalled outfielder Jabari Blash.
• The Angels have signed Japanese right-handed reliever Junichi Tazawa to a Minor League deal. Tazawa, 32, was released by the Tigers earlier this week after posting a 9.39 ERA over 7 2/3 innings in nine appearances for Triple-A Toledo. He has a 4.16 career ERA in 379 Major League games.
"He's a guy that was really throwing the ball well a couple years ago," Scioscia said. "If he can regain that, there's no doubt that he can be part of a good bullpen."
• Right-hander Nick Tropeano (shoulder inflammation) allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits over four innings in his first rehab start for Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Friday. He walked one, struck out five and threw 71 pitches.