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Tim Salmon understands Albert Pujols' predicament

Former Angels outfielder suffered from the same painful foot problem affecting the team's current first baseman.

April 23, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
  • Former Angels outfielder Tim Salmon played most of 1998 with plantar fasciitis.
Former Angels outfielder Tim Salmon played most of 1998 with plantar fasciitis. (Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images )

Tim Salmon feels Albert Pujols' pain. The former Angels right fielder played most of 1998 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, and he does not have to imagine how difficult it is for the current Angels slugger to manage the same condition.

"I tell you what, it's misery," said Salmon, who works part time on FS West telecasts of the Angels. "It is absolutely one of the most painful things you'll experience outside of a kidney stone because you're putting all your weight on it, and it feels like you're walking with a nail in your heel."

Salmon went on the 15-day disabled list April 23 of that season. Though he played 136 games, finishing with a .300 average, 26 home runs and 88 runs batted in, he was relegated to designated hitter for 111 of them.

After the season, Salmon underwent surgery in which the plantar fascia ligament is cut to release tension and relieve inflammation. He had the same procedure on his right foot a year later.

Pujols, 33, has played in all 18 games and began Monday with a .317 average, two home runs, a team-leading 13 RBIs and a .438 on-base percentage. But Salmon doubts Pujols will be able to play much more first base this season.

"The thing about it is there's no silver bullet unless you get an injection, and that's really painful, and you have to miss three or four days," Salmon said. "If you keep playing with it, it tears on its own, and that can solve the problem."

Salmon said the condition didn't bother him as much when he was swinging or running hard on the balls of his feet. Slowing down, jogging, walking and standing around were difficult. He wore a boot to stretch the ligament while he slept.

"You're icing it all the time, taping, and then it becomes a mental thing," Salmon said. "It's like a toothache, it's constantly there. I watch Albert running heel to toe and think, 'Ooh, that's got to hurt.' "

Tommy Hanson won't make start

Tommy Hanson, who was scheduled to start Wednesday night, was put on the bereavement list because of a death in the family, and reliever David Carpenter was recalled from triple-A Salt Lake. Hanson can spend a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven days on the bereavement list.

Manager Mike Scioscia is leaning toward starting long reliever Jerome Williams on Wednesday against Texas. Though Williams has a 7.34 earned-run average against the Rangers in 302/3 innings and given up nine home runs, and their batters have a .336 average and .656 slugging percentage against him, he threw three scoreless innings in the Angels' 13-inning win over Detroit on Sunday.

Short hops

Erick Aybar ran sprints and took batting practice for the first time since going on the DL because of a left-heel bruise. The shortstop is hopeful he will return Thursday, when he's eligible to be activated, or shortly thereafter. … Reliever Kevin Jepsen, on the DL because of a strain in his armpit area, is gaining strength and expects to begin throwing within a week.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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