When Albert Pujols came off the disabled list earlier this week nearly a month sooner than originally expected, Cards fans could not have been more excited. However, the first basemen/slugger-bot nicknamed “The Machine” was apologetic, citing a delay in his robot wrist installation that delayed his return by two weeks.

“The U.S. Defense Department contractor that has secretly been creating all my replacement parts and updated hitting software was having some slight issues with the hydraulic valves in the replacement wrist,” Pujols said. “Had everything gone according to plan, I would have been back much sooner so I apologize to all Cardinals fans and fans of teams hoping to sign me as a free agent next season. I’m looking at you Cubs. Seriously, call me and offer me $156 million over 10 years.”

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa also apologized, telling reporters that he forgot to oil Albert’s machine parts the day of the injury. La Russa felt this negligence could have contributed to Pujols’ titanium flexor snapping when Wilson Betemit of the Royals collided with the first baseman on a bang-bang play.

“I know most managers wouldn’t be expected to oil their star player’s parts, but most managers don’t have as special of a bond with their star player as I have with Albert,” said La Russa. “When Albert needs something oiled, I’m his guy.”

Patrick O. Elia