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Albert Pujols joins the Angels’ lineup ahead of schedule

Mar 5, 2013, 1:16 PM EDT

Albert Pujols Getty Getty Images

As of last week Albert Pujols was telling reporters that he didn’t plan to see any game action until mid-March as he comes back from knee surgery, but the Angels’ lineup has Pujols at designated hitter today.

So why the sudden change of plans?

You guys needed something to write, so I gave you something for you guys to write. Obviously, it’s great to be in the lineup. I want to try to get some at-bats and get ready for the season.

Pujols did tell Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that he’s not at 100 percent yet, but feels fine running because it doesn’t matter if he’s at less than 100 percent on the bases in a spring training game.

  1. carbydrash - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Albert has been one of the most remarkably durable players over the course of his career. He ranks 2nd in games played in 2001 and in his entire career, he’s had 3 DL stints….all of which were pretty short

    2006: Out June 3rd-June 22nd with strained oblique. Played 143 games
    2008: Out June 10th-June 26th with calf injury. Played 148 games
    2011: Out June 19th- July 6th with wrist injury. Played 147 games

    • umrguy42 - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      I hated that 2006 one. My friend and I had tickets to a game right in the middle of that. I don’t get to go to games all that often, and unless he was playing in the game I caught before that in ’02, maybe, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to see him play live for the Cardinals. (But at least the Cards won the game we went to, although thanks to public transport, we missed getting the free hats they were giving out celebrating the new ballpark. Also – I took my glove, as did my friend. So there, Craig. (Yes, I know this is a Gleeman piece. But still.))

      • carbydrash - Mar 5, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        Fun with paces!

        I should note that I, in no way shape or form, think Albert Pujols would have ended up with these numbers had he not been hurt. But, he was off to such a ridiculous start, it’s fun to daydream.

        At the time of his injury, Pujols had 25 home runs and 65 RBIs….in the Cardinals 53 games. If hadn’t been hurt and kept up that pace all year (which, let me say again, he wouldn’t have), his final 2006 numbers would have been:

        Runs: 156
        Hits: 171
        2B: 21
        HR: 77
        RBI: 199
        BA: .315
        OBP: .449
        SLG: .775
        SO: 48

      • umrguy42 - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        I think I remember that. Was that the season he started out with 3 HR in the first two games?

  2. fearlessleader - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Jeff Fletcher also quotes Albert as saying “I don’t need to tell you guys when I’m going to play” in response to media who asked him about the change of plans. Good to see his surliness is already in mid-season form.

    • paperlions - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      Yeah, but this is also pretty funny. I imagine the the media’s attitude about their perceived right to know anything and everything about you can get pretty annoying to players.

  3. echech88 - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    More or less confirms what he said last week, which was that if Opening Day were tomorrow he’d be fine to play.

    They’re being cautious with him and probably don’t mind getting Trumbo some extra reps at 1B to keep him engaged as well.

  4. halohonk - Mar 5, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Time to get to work Albert. I know its still early but we are off to a slow start this spring. Lets get these starters settled in their spots in the batting order and get em some at bats.

  5. swmocardsfan - Mar 5, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    I know I am gonna get thumbs downs for this…but I still can’t get behind this guy after leaving St Louis. One day…yes I will support him again, but that day will be when he admits what only Zach Greinke has had the guts to say…and that is that it was 100% about the money. He had plenty of chances to continue winning in St Louis (evidence by the fact he was sitting at home last Fall while the Cards were one win from the World Series) while still making more money than one human could ever spend, and to be an absolute idol in the town, but he took the money and ran.

    • cosanostra71 - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      Yeah, screw him for trying to get the most money he can. Why would anyone do that?

    • carbydrash - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      1. The Angels offered him *much* more money. Like, a lot more than the Cardinals did.
      2. The Cardinals were initially offering under $20 million per year.
      3. The Cardinals then started talking about $25 million a year…for 5 years or so.
      4. At the end of the day, the Cardinals were talking about a year or two less and 3-4 million a year less. I no mathologist, but over the life of the contract, that equals a shitload of money.

      I don’t blame the Cardinals one bit for not breaking the bank to re-sign him. By the same token, I can’t really blame Albert for not talking a much lesser deal with a team that really didn’t seem to estactic about resigning him and offered him much less money.

      • gibbyfan - Mar 5, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        You summed it up pretty well Carby — Given obvious fiscal limitations the Cards did what they had to do in the best interst of the organiztion and AP doid what was best for AP, as most players would. In the end, that’s really what it’s all about, for at least the vast majority of players.
        As a postscript, Back when he signed hois 7 year deal, I was one of those who really thought the Cards should have been smart enough to tie Albert up a little longer when they had the chance—even a year or two could have made a big difference, IMO

    • paperlions - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      I have no problem with him taking the money, and no desire to root for him…he doesn’t play for my team anymore, why would I root for him. My only problem was that he repeatedly said it wasn’t about the money, but then he only cared about the money. I am 12 kinds of happy that he turned the Cardinals down, even the deal they offered was too much money for too long (from a business and team perspective). Plus, last year the Cardinals 1B (Craig) hit better than the Angels 1B (Pujols), so….he wasn’t missed on the field….and that likely wasn’t a fluke as Craig hit better than Pujols did when they were both on the Cardinals in 2011.

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