La Russa hopeful Pujols will return to Cards

La Russa hopeful Pujols will return to Cards

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has been silent on the subject, but the three-time National League MVP could be playing his last home series at Busch Stadium this weekend.

An impending free agent, Pujols prefers not to talk about his status.

But Cardinals manager Tony La Russa spoke briefly on the subject Friday afternoon.

"I just know both parties want to stay here, so I'm hopeful it will work out," La Russa said.

Entering Friday, Pujols had 14 hits in his last 31 at-bats (.452), including a 7-for-14 mark over the previous three games.

La Russa is pleased with the way Pujols has kept his contract situation on the back burner all season long.

"It distracts from what the team is trying to do, but Albert's been one of the best," La Russa said.