MLB

Pujols pushing himself in spring training

Share This Story

   
 

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)

Albert Pujols shows up early and stays late, pushing himself to get everything out of his workday with the Los Angeles Angels.

''This is my job,'' Pujols said Friday. ''You have to take your job seriously.''

He makes it look easy in part because he works so hard.

''He's showing not only that he's a great talent, but why he's so good,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He works hard at everything. I think a guy with his talent, they have the talent, but there's a reason they play to such a high level. It doesn't surprise us that he works this hard.''

Pujols pulled into the nearly empty parking lot at Tempe Diablo Stadium at sunrise, and quickly made his way to the weight room. After a team meeting, he took the field for practice, including a line-drive filled hitting session into a stiff north wind that threatened to rip an American flag off a pole high on the jagged butte behind the right-field fence.

Not done, he jogged to the indoor cages to swing some more.

''It's part of my routine that I've been doing for 14 years as a professional,'' the 32-year-old slugger said. ''Obviously, some days I do a little more.''

He started hitting in December, swinging four times a week - down from the six times a week he used to hit.

''All the hard work has been paying off,'' Pujols said in an understatement, considering his .328 career batting average, 445 home runs and 1,329 RBIs - and the 10-year, $240 million deal that the Angels gave him to leave the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pujols is looking forward to playing a lot in the spring.

''It's part of getting yourself ready for the season,'' he said. ''There's 30 games and they can fly by easy. I prefer to get myself ready and not get backed up, rather than try to rush at the end when we break camp and create bad habits.''

The Angels will play a four-inning intrasquad game Saturday, then open exhibition play Monday against Oakland at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

With all the Cactus League teams in the Phoenix area, spring training in Arizona is a lot more convenient than it was in Florida with the Cardinals, though Pujols said he never had a problem with long bus rides as long as there was a game to play.

''Obviously, everybody knows the road trips are really shorter, but that doesn't mean anything,'' Pujols said. ''If I have to go five hours, I have to go because that's going to get me ready for the season. I never had any problems making those trips because that's what's going to get you prepared for the season.''

That said, teammate Torii Hunter knows the short trips are a big advantage, especially for older players.

''It's way easier here,'' Hunter said. ''Talk about bus rides. In Florida, you're getting up at 6 o'clock and your bus ride is at 6:45 a.m. You're on the bus for two hours, get off and try to get loose and try to take batting practice. It was tough on the body. We had a lot of guys with bad legs in the Grapefruit League.''

Pujols has a spot between Hunter and Bobby Abreu in the clubhouse.

''He's fitting in just fine,'' Hunter said. ''Everybody here - Bobby, Vernon Wells - is making it easy for him. We have a lot of fun over here. We don't have big-league attitudes. We're laid back and we're making him feel comfortable.''

Pujols is trying to not get too comfortable or look too far ahead.

''We look good on paper and when he look at ourselves, but we still have to take care of business and go out there prepare ourself for the season,'' he said. ''It'll start with the game on Monday. We take those game seriously. You don't want to take a bad habit into the season. I think everybody here knows what their jobs is.

''It's about team chemistry. It isn't about one player.''

But the focus is all on the $240 million man.

''Everybody here knows what I can do and, if I'm healthy, I'm going to try to do that,'' Pujols said. ''I don't know what kind of numbers I can put up this year because I don't get caught up in numbers, but I can tell you I'm going to give 110 percent for sure every day to help this organization to win. That, for sure, I can promise you. ... All I can do is go out there and get myself ready every day.''

NOTES: Scioscia favors expanding the playoffs by adding a second wild-card team in each league. ''I'm excited because I think it leans more heavily on the integrity of the season than the other system,'' Scioscia said. ''But, sometimes you only find that out when you put something in. Hopefully, it's going to be a positive move.'' ... Abreu requested a trade in February and wants to play five or six exhibition games a week, something Scioscia thinks will happen. ''We're going to have a lot of at-bats for guys,'' Scioscia said. ''We have a lot of split squads and `B' games. I think Bobby understands the last couple of years haven't been what he wanted them to be. He wants to play. He wants to show he can play.'' ... Scioscia lost 38 pounds during the offseason.

Tagged: Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Angels, Albert Pujols

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..