Pujols bans TV station that erred naming him in Mitchell report

ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols, angry his name was incorrectly
linked to the Mitchell report on steroids last month, banned a St.
Louis television station from participating in a news conference

Pujols asked Cardinals media relations director Brian Bartow to
make a reporter and cameraman from St. Louis Fox affiliate KTVI
leave the room where Pujols' news conference was taking place on
the final day of the Cardinals' winter warmup.

On Dec. 13, KTVI broadcast an incorrect report, citing
information posted on the Web site of New York television station
WNBC, that linked Pujols and other players to the Mitchell report.

When the report was released that day, Pujols' name was not

"I know we're in the dark clouds with the steroids," Pujols
said. "But now people are going to second-guess my numbers because
some guys started something that wasn't the truth."

The KTVI duo watched Monday's news conference from the corner of
the room with the camera off and did not participate.

The incorrect broadcast, Pujols told reporters, showed "50
percent of the things you guys write is not true, and I'm glad that

KTVI acting news director Audrey Prywitch had no comment. After
the Mitchell report was released, WNBC.com posted a statement that
it "regrets the error and sincerely apologizes for providing the
incorrect information."

WNBC spokeswoman Anna Carbonell said Monday the station had "no
further comment on this story."

In the wake of the incorrect report, Pujols said there's bound
to be skepticism about his impressive career. Every year since
making his debut in 2001, he's batted .300 with 30 home runs. Last
year, he missed scoring 100 runs for the seventh straight year by
one run.

He said he will not take legal action but expressed
disappointment that he wasn't given the benefit of the doubt.

The 27-year-old enters 2008 with a .332 average and 282 homers --
numbers he says came about naturally.

"Since 2001, I've been proving myself every year," he said.
"How much better can I get? Only God knows. Do I need to cheat in
this game to get better? This is a hobby, man. I fear God too much
to do stupid things in this game. Cheating on this game, that's not

Pujols has been dealing with doubters since shortly after he
began his career, first with his age. Throughout the years he said
media have tried to goad him into creating controversy.

"I remember from 2001, 'Oh he's not 21,'" Pujols said.
"During the playoffs, they always look for the big names to start
things. And now with the steroids I've been getting rocks all over
the place, and they keep bouncing off me."

Pujols said he decided against offseason surgery on his right
elbow, a trouble spot for several years, because he would have had
to miss a significant portion if not all the 2008 season. Pujols
still is unable to straighten his arm, but team doctors concluded
that because he plays first base, an operation can be postponed.

He said his elbow bothered him the second half of last season,
and said if that happens again he wouldn't try to soldier through

"If the same problem is happening this year, I don't think I'm
to play the whole year the same way," Pujols said. "I sacrificed
my body."