St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols received an MRI yesterday for his ailing back. The scan showed no structural damage, but did reveal what seems to be shrapnel from action in the Vietnam War.
"I have treated many veterans in my regular practice," said Cardinals team physician Dr. Rick Wright. "And what I saw on the MRI was pretty clearly remnants from a mine only used by the Viet Cong."
The find again brings into question the age of Pujols, who claims to have been born in 1980, although it has long been assumed he is much older. If the shrapnel is indeed from action in Vietnam, Pujols is likely between 55 and 65 years of age. Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa deflected questions about his star's true birth date.
"This is ridiculous. I thought we put this issue to bed years ago," said LaRussa. "It's disrespectful to Albert, who has never lied about anything and has done nothing but respect the game of baseball. Our brave veterans don't need these sort of cynical questions. We owe them more than that."
Not only does the MRI put into questions Pujols' age, but also his nationality as the Dominican Republic did not have a military presence in Vietnam.
"I'm not surprised," said the general manager of a rival NL Central team. "We all know he's older. I didn't realize he's not even Dominican. But I should have. I mean Pujols. That's clearly a made up, joke name. This guy's been screwing with us for years. And you have to question why he changed his name after coming home from the war. Is he a war criminal? Did he take on the identity of a fallen soldier? And why did he wait until his later forties to start playing baseball?"
Pujols refused to comment on the allegations. And his back appears to be feeling better. He took some swings today wearing his usual batting practice attire: a Cardinals batting practice jersey and his VFW hat.