Los Angeles Angels superstar Albert Pujols is back on the bases.
Pujols, who underwent offseason right knee surgery, played in only his fourth Cactus League game Wednesday against the San Diego Padres. But it represented a landmark of sorts: Pujols ran the bases for the first time, rather than exiting for a designated runner, as had been the arrangement for his first three games. (It only came into play Sunday against Kansas City.)
Pujols has played exclusively as a designated hitter this spring but is expected to play first base during the regular season. Pujols can alternate between first base and designated hitter with Mark Trumbo, who started at first base Wednesday.
Pujols, 33, is entering the second year of a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels. His first season in Anaheim – .859 OPS, 30 home runs – was (statistically) his worst in the big leagues, after 11 years and two world titles in St. Louis.