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Albert Pujols plays field, declares himself ready for opener

Mar 19, 2013, 7:28 PM EDT

pujols angels getty Getty Images

Albert Pujols played first base Tuesday for the first time in this year’s Cactus League and reported no issues with his surgically-repaired right knee.

Pujols got pulled after five innings and was never really tested on defense, but the slugger told USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale after his day was through that he is feeling good and fully expects to be in the Angels’ lineup for the regular-season opener on April 1 against the Reds. It’s at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati — where Pujols was a .316/.404/.598 career hitter during his time with the Cardinals.

Pujols was 0-for-2 at the plate in Tuesday’s 6-1 loss to the Brewers, but he still boasts a .313 batting average in eight spring games. He posted the worst OPS (.859) and OPS+ (141) of his career in 2012 with Anaheim.

The Angels still owe the 33-year-old first baseman a whopping $228 million.

  1. proudlycanadian - Mar 19, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Leave Pujols alone. Like Arod, I am sure that he will earn part of that huge contract.

  2. proudlycanadian - Mar 19, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Just because he now has plantar fasciitis doesn’t mean that he will necessarily have a poor year start to the year.

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 19, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      P. S. My source about the foot problem is Rotoworld.

  3. bjoe23 - Mar 19, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    No baseball player can earn $250 million no matter how good

  4. echech88 - Mar 19, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    It’s bizarre that any mention of Albert on this blog now has to come with the contract breakdown.

    Their new TV deal makes the annual commitment a fraction of their revenue going forward. That contract for the Angels 2 years ago would look devastating. Now? It didn’t even prevent them from going out and getting Hamilton and comfortably benching Vernon Wells.

    This doesn’t even factor in inflation that will come from all the new TV deals blowing up free agency. $30M in 8 years will feel the way $18M does now. Significant, but not prohibitive.

    • paperlions - Mar 19, 2013 at 9:01 PM

      It did prevent them from improving the rotation…and in a couple of years it is likely that both the Pujols and Hamilton contracts will be huge problems.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 19, 2013 at 11:04 PM

        I’m of the opinion the Vernon Wells contract is more prohibitive than the Pujols or Hamilton contracts. I think at the end of the day, even without Pujols or Hamilton, the Angels move on from Ervin Santana. Haren maybe they’re willing to keep him on the payroll, but who knows. The rotation wasn’t all that great last year anyway so we’ll see if it is improved or not.

    • gibbyfan - Mar 19, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      As applies to about 5-6 teams your right ech –they can easily afford to keep a $25M player on the bench and not even flinch—and that’s exactly why there is no reasonable competitive balance in terms of budget. IMO that cant be good for the game. Only more and more situations like AROD will bring about change—where even though teams have the $$ they will be reluctant toappear foolish.

  5. losanginsight - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Might as well trade him for Arod now. Noatter how much money the TV deal brings the jalos it wil still affect the team in the future. NYY owns their own TV network and their big off season signing was Kevin Youklis. The jalos wanted to be the Yanks and they will get their wish in 4 years. If trout keeps it up he will be a 300mil player. Only a sophmore GM would have 2 players taking up 60mil a year. 1of the players will be 37yrs old with 5 years left.

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