Backe says Pujols issue 'over with'

Backe says Pujols issue 'over with'

ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Backe and Albert Pujols exchanged harsh words the last time the Astros and Cardinals got together, but the right-handed pitcher expects no such altercation this time around.

Backe will face the Cardinals on Sunday at Busch Stadium, and he firmly stated prior to Friday's game that anything that happened between him and the Cardinals slugger will not resurface this weekend.

"Nothing," Backe said. "It's absolutely over with. I don't care about any of it, to be talked about, brought up. It's over with. There's nothing to worry about."

During the Cardinals' last visit to Houston, Backe and Pujols had a somewhat heated exchange during batting practice. Pujols apparently confronted Backe regarding disapproving comments the pitcher made regarding Pujols' hard slide into catcher J.R. Towles during a play at the plate the night before.

Pujols called Towles immediately after that game to apologize, and Towles said he had no hard feelings. The same clearly did not apply to Backe and Pujols. Backe acknowledged later that the two do not like each other.

During batting practice Friday at Busch Stadium, Backe stretched on the field with the pitchers, feet away from the batting cage where Pujols was taking batting practice. The two appeared oblivious to one another, while several other Astros players and coaches shook hands and engaged in friendly conversation with the Cards first baseman.

Count manager Cecil Cooper as one who is not worried about what could happen when Pujols and Backe face each other Sunday.

"I have no concern about it," Cooper said. "Zero."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.