Deidre Pujols, wife of Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols and creator of Strike Out Slavery, on Saturday, June 8, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

ST. LOUIS – Major League Baseball star Albert Pujols and his wife, Deidre, have filed for divorce after being married for over two decades.

Deidre Pujols announced that she was undergoing brain surgery last week for a tumor first discovered last fall. The surgery was on the same day that Albert Pujols made his spring training debut with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The first baseman told ESPN after he finished Wednesday’s game that he “would not be here” if the situation was life-threatening.

MVP Sports Group agent Dan Lozano released the below statement on behalf of Albert Pujols:

“I’ve been asked a lot of questions over the past few days regarding what’s been going on at home and sadly, after 22 years of marriage, I have made the decision to file for divorce from my wife, Deidre. I realize this is not the most opportune time with Opening Day approaching and other family events that have recently taken place. These situations are never easy and isn’t something that just happened overnight.

“As a devout Christian, this is an outcome that I never wanted to see happen. For many long days and nights, I prayed, asking the Lord for His guidance. I am thankful for the five beautiful children that we brought into this world and remain committed to raising them in a loving and safe environment. I ask that you please respect our privacy and the privacy of our five children during this time.”

Deidre Pujols has not yet spoken out about the divorce.

Albert Pujols will be in the starting lineup for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Pittsburgh Pirates when he begins his final big league season Thursday in what should be an emotional return to Busch Stadium.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol announced Monday that Pujols, who signed a $2.5 million contract to return to the club where he became a star, will be the designated hitter for his 22nd consecutive opening day start.

Pujols played 11 seasons with the Cardinals before playing 11 seasons in Los Angeles – 10 for the Angels, and one for the Dodgers.

The 42-year-old Pujols and his close friend, Yadier Molina, already have said this will be their final big league season. That also could be the case for right-hander Adam Wainwright, who joined the other two in bringing World Series championships to St. Louis in 2006 and 2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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