Two different random people have asked me this question over the last week.
A cursory search of the internet revealed no recent stories documenting a current injury for Pujols. We all know about his elbow and the recent procedure he had to reposition his tendon, but that is old off-season news at this point. No, there’s no indication he’s hurt.
However, starting the season 2 for 16 is unusual. In fact, any stretch where he hit .125 for a period of games is unusual.
I did a couple of searches on Baseball Reference. The first was to see how many consecutive games he’d gone with at least 4 at bats and no more than one hit. The longest such streak is 6 games, most recently from July 21-27 in 2009. During that six-game stretch (@HOU, @PHI, vs LA) he went 5 for 25, no XBH, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1K. Before that, go back to May 3-8 2004 (vs CHC, @PHI, @MON) where he went 6 for 26, but had 3 doubles and a HR.
The second again looked at consecutive games, but this time using at least 3 AB and no more than 1 hit. Pujols had an 11-game streak like that last season (Aug 27 to Sep 7) where he hit .158 (6 for 38), 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 BB (2 intentional), and 8K’s. The games were @WSH, @HOU, vs CIN, and @MIL. The next longest covered the July 2009 time period again, but was 10 games, adding 3 to the front and 1 to the back of that streak (he hit .211).
I don’t remember AP being hurt in 2010. I do remember he had nagging elbow issues in 2009. Either way, the lack of production being correlate-able to an injury doesn’t seem to be there. Still, this kind of mini-slump to start the year is odd. After the Padres series it was reported Pujols had only been held hitless in 2 of the first 3 games of a season twice before – 2001, and 2007. In Game 4 of the 2001 season (@AZ) he went 3-5 with a double, HR, and 3 RBI. That game started a 13-game hitting streak for Albert.
In 2007, he went hitless in Games 4 and 5 and started the season 1 for 17. Then he broke out with 2 hits and a HR against the Astros. He finished that season with a .327/.429/.568 season (OPS .997), which is a tremendous year for most everyone else, but the second lowest OPS of his career. 2007 is also the only season he did not finish among the top 5 in NL MVP voting.
So to answer the question posed by this post’s subject: yes, I believe Albert Pujols is healthy. I don’t believe this is anything more than an a slow start to the season. Yes I would feel better about it if he had gone 2-16 against Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Lincecum, but whatever. Let’s see how he hits the rest of this month before we start lining up to jump off the Eads Bridge.