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Doctor confirms Pujols has tear, but won't need immediate surgery

JUPITER, Fla. -- Albert Pujols' injury elbow is a "high-grade tear" of the ligament, but, as he announced when he arrived at the St. Louis Cardinals' spring training home in mid-February, he won't have surgery.

At least for now.

Cardinals team physician Dr. George Paletta confirmed the diagnosis on Wednesday, and said that Pujols will need reconstructive surgery at some point, but not immediately. He said the Cardinals' first baseman has a "high-grade" tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, as well as bone spurs, inflammation and arthritis in the joint.

Paletta confirmed that Pujols could have undergone arthroscopic surgery to help the bone spurs and arthritis, but not the ligament tear; he could have had arthrscopic surgery and Tommy John surgery to rebuild the elbow (causing him to miss at least this season), or he could wait.

When he reported to camp, Pujols said he will not change his routine as he prepares for Opening Day.

"If it blows out it's going to blow out," Pujols said. "You can't control that."

He said he didn't want to just have the arthroscopic surgery.

"It didn't make sense having the surgery and just clean it up, when cleaning it up it wasn't going to make it good," Pujols said. "I had to do something in the ligament."

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report