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09/08/08 11:40 PM ET

Pujols considering elbow surgery

Cards slugger has been dealing with ligament tear since '03

ST. LOUIS -- Slugger Albert Pujols told a local television station on Monday that he may be leaning toward undergoing Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow after the season ends. The procedure typically sidelines a hitter for approximately six months.

"The sooner that I get it done, the better it's going to be for me," Pujols told KSDK-TV, "because I'm going to heal quicker than if I wait two or three more years. It needs to be done."

Pujols has been dealing with a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow since 2003, and throughout that time, he has continued to play at an extremely high level. However, the injury became more troublesome for Pujols in 2007 than it has ever been, and following the '07 season, he sought consultations on a potential course of action.

At that time, it was decided that surgery was not necessary, but it was clear that at some point it was likely the slugger would need it.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.