Sports Pujols says he'll decide future after season with Angels

23:21  27 february  2021
23:21  27 february  2021 Source:   msn.com

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Albert Pujols has the Los Angeles Angels in a very tough spot. He signed a 10-year, 0 million contract as a free agent prior to the 2012 season . And despite diminishing returns, he intends to fulfill every minute of it, he told Boomskie on Baseball in an exclusive interview a few days ago. To get him, owner Arte Moreno had to sign Pujols as a player for 10 years, plus another million for personal services for 10 years after his playing days are over. Last May 5, when he singled to collect his 3,000th hit at Seattle, Pujols cashed in a million bonus. He ’ ll get million more if he should

Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols told the Los Angeles Times that his surgically repaired right knee will not prevent him from being ready for the season opener. Pujols underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee in October, what he considered a minor cleanup procedure. A three-time NL MVP, Pujols struggled early last season and hit .285 with 30 homers and 105 RBIs in his first season with the Angels after leaving the St. Louis Cardinals on a 0 million, 10-year deal. He strained his right calf in late August, and was limited on the basepaths and in the field for the rest of the season .

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Albert Pujols woke up from a nap last Monday in Arizona to find several hundred messages and missed calls on his phone.

a baseball player holding a bat © Provided by The Canadian Press

While he was sleeping, the Los Angeles Angels slugger's wife, Deidre, had put up a complimentary Instagram post about her husband that was widely interpreted to mean Pujols had decided to retire after this season, his 21st in the majors.

“Hey, that's the life we're living on social media,” Pujols said Saturday with a chuckle. “It's sad that everybody just had to run with it.”

The 41-year-old slugger quickly reiterated what he has been saying for months: He hasn't decided whether he will continue playing after the conclusion of his 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels this fall, and he won't make or announce a decision until after the season.

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Pujols will start the season fourth in career RBIs with 2,075. He is sixth all-time with 656 home runs. With this season shortened, if he doesn’t play after his contract expires next year, some statistical benchmarks figure to be out of reach – such as 700 home runs or Hank Aaron’s RBI record of 2,297. 17 after attending church with friends when they decided to stop at Target to buy snacks, the Ventura County Star reported. The teens said they were the victims of racial profiling by Target staff and county deputies.

Pujols , 39, enters this season after a pair of surgeries, arthroscopic procedures on his left knee in August and his right elbow in September. Pujols has had a total of five surgeries since joining the Angels , including a knee procedure in October 2012, and foot surgeries in November 2015 and Ausmus has said repeatedly that performance will dictate who plays. They’ ll get an idea of Pujols ’ health and performance level gradually, working him slowly through spring training. “The most important thing in spring training is making sure he ’s healthy going into the season ,” Ausmus said .

“I think our organization, my friends, people that follow my career for 21 years deserve better than just me or her posting something on Instagram,” Pujols said in his first interviews of spring training. "This thing just got blown out of proportion. My mind is not even there. My mind is on staying focused, healthy, and hopefully trying to help this ballclub win this year, and that's it. If I feel at the end of the year that that's it, I'll announce it (and) go home. But I'm not even there yet.”

The fifth-leading home run hitter in major league history says he has more pressing concerns on his mind, primarily the chase of his first playoff victory with the Angels. Not playing in October will never stop grating on Pujols, who begins the new season with 662 homers along with 2,100 RBIs, third-most in baseball history.

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- Jose Pujols arrived at Angels camp Friday looking leaner and stronger after dropping 13-15 pounds over Though he normally returns to Missouri during the offseason, Pujols said he decided to stay in Southern California Pujols , who will enter the 2018 season only 32 hits shy of 3,000, refused to

It's too early to say if it'll be a true platoon, but the left-handed-hitting Bour figures to see more playing time against right-handers, which could limit Pujols to seeing mostly lefties. Pujols , though, has actually hit right-handers better the past two years, so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. As for a buyout, Pujols ' contract is guaranteed through the 2021 season , so he ' ll get another shot to prove he's healthy after left knee surgery. What do you make of the Angels ' struggles to find a true/long-term third baseman over the past decade, and will it be rectified anytime soon?

“I don’t even get to watch (the post-season), because I get so mad because we should have been there,” he said.

Pujols has at least one more chance to get the team success he craves alongside Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani. The 10-time All-Star is in the midst of five consecutive losing seasons and six straight non-playoff campaigns with the Angels, but there is cautious optimism around the big-budget franchise heading into manager Joe Maddon's second season in charge.

Even if Pujols attempts to play in 2022, he knows he is close to the end of the underwhelming second act of his career after 11 stellar seasons in St. Louis. He batted .328 with 445 homers while winning three NL MVP awards for the Cardinals, but has been a .257 hitter with 217 homers over nine years in Anaheim.

Last season, Pujols batted .224 with a .665 OPS — both the worst marks of his two-decade career — while playing in just 39 of Los Angeles’ 60 games.

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After an off- season of hard work on his physical conditioning and fundamentals, he says he 's ready to be wherever the Angels want him . “I love this game, and I don’t care if I play in the sandlot,” Adell said Friday. Earlier this month, Los Angeles acquired Fowler from St. Louis with the express intent of playing him in right field. Maddon is quick to point out the Angels haven't decided where Adell will begin 2021, saying spring is “just time to observe.” They're working on flattening Adell's swing to cut down on strikeouts, but his mechanical approach is linked to his mental game, according to Maddon.

Pujols put the Angels on top at 3-2 with a sacrifice fly that drove in Fletcher from third. It was Pujols ' 93rd RBI of the season , second on the team only to Mike Trout (104). Peters was replaced to start the sixth inning, having given up two runs and five hits, striking out three and walking one. He says he fired in self-defense. Prosecutors sought to amend the terms of his bail last month after video footage captured him drinking with a group of Proud Boys at a Wisconsin bar and flashing white-power hand signs.

This season also brings the distinct prospect of even less action for Pujols, who has remained injury-free and fairly effective as a fielder at first base over the past two years.

He's certain to split playing time at first with Jared Walsh, who batted .337 with nine homers and 26 RBIs in 22 games as a rookie last September, and with Ohtani as the Halos' designated hitter.

Pujols says he's fine with whatever role he gets in 2021 from Maddon, who praises the veteran slugger for his maturity and leadership.

“It’s going to be a meritocracy always, and he gets it,” Maddon said. “We’ve had the conversations. Of course he wants to play. Of course when he doesn’t play, he might not like it. He’s wired that way, and that’s how you want him to be. But he understands what’s going on. He accepts it well. Regardless of the role we put him in, I know he’s going to react to it well.”

NOTES: LHP Packy Naughton has a Grade 1 strain of the UCL in his throwing elbow, the Angels announced. They acquired Naughton while trading OF Brian Goodwin to Cincinnati last season, and he was expected to be in their Triple-A rotation in Salt Lake this year. The Angels haven't decided what steps they'll take next with Naughton's injury, Maddon said. ... José Quintana will start the Angels’ Cactus League opener Sunday vs the Giants in Scottsdale. Patrick Sandoval and Dillon Peters will be among the other pitchers. ... Maddon praised veteran RHP Jesse Chavez, who signed with the Angels this week. Chavez pitched for Maddon with the Cubs in 2018: “He’s a big reason why we made the playoffs that particular year,” Maddon said, calling Chavez a "Swiss Army knife. … He just makes any team that he’s on better, and he’s going to make this bullpen better.”


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Greg Beacham, The Associated Press

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