Good news out of the Los Angeles Angels Spring Training camp as Albert Pujols was able to make his Spring debut for the Angels on Friday. Pujols went 0 for 2 walking & grounding out twice. The results were secondary to #5’s presence.
Albert Pujols, who hit 31 homers and drove in 119 runs for the Los Angeles Angels before shutting it down the last week of the season due to plantar fasciitis, was just glad to be back in the line-up. He will play every other day over the next three weeks of Spring Training in hopes of being ready for Opening Day on April 3rd at Seattle.
Pujols who is now 37 years old is closing in on some major milestones and could reach two this season which are 600 home runs and 3,000 hits. Pujols has 591 homers and 2,825 hits in his career. Not that he isn’t already a shoo-in for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but if Pujols reaches either milestone he will be a lock and almost assuredly a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
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The question is will Pujols be ready by opening day, and the answer is maybe.
"It just feels good to be back wearing the uniform and being out there with the guys,” Pujols said in an interview with Maria Guardado of MLB.Com. “I’m just taking it one day at a time like I did last year, and have you guys (the reporters) play the guessing game. It’s not fair right now for me to tell you, Yeah I’ll be ready to go when I just played my first game of the Spring."
If Pujols is ready to go by opening day it will be a big lift for the Angels who should be much improved already offensively with the addition of Cameron Maybin in left and Danny Espinosa at second base. The other question is how effective will Pujols be this season.
The past two years have by far been the best of his five year career with the Angels as in 2015 Pujols hit 40 homers and drove in 95 runs. As mentioned before Pujols hit 31 homers and drove in 119 runs while batting .268. The Angels will take either of those seasons or somewhere in between.
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The final question is where or not Pujols will be able to last for the full season and be pain-free throughout. In the past two years Pujols has played 157 and 152 games with the aforementioned numbers, and quite honestly I believe Pujols would have stuck it out last season for that final week if not for the fact that the Angels were already out of the playoff race.
All in all despite a 4-2 loss to the Padres, the Angels are definitely to have their ‘Machine’ back in the line-up.