Healthy, upbeat Pujols reports early to Angels spring training
Albert Pujols reported to spring training along with Angels pitchers and catchers Thursday, and his mood seemed to mirror his health.
Seattle Times news services
TEMPE, Ariz. — Albert Pujols reported to spring training along with Angels pitchers and catchers Thursday, and his mood seemed to mirror his health.
The left-heel injury that hobbled him for four months last season before giving out in late July is fully healed. The surgically repaired right knee that flared up several times in 2013 is sound.
Pujols is 7 pounds lighter than he was last September, his 6-foot-3, 236-pound frame lean and chiseled from a winter of workouts. And while he will never be compared to Mike Trout on the basepaths, Pujols is feeling as frisky as the 22-year-old speedster.
“You’re going to see it when I run and move around,” said Pujols, 34. “I’ll let your eyes be the judge. I might steal five or six bags this year.”
Pujols could barely run to first, let alone steal second, last season. Playing with painful plantar fasciitis in his left heel, Pujols gutted his way through 99 games, hitting .258 with 17 homers and 64 runs batted in.
Former Angels player and manager Jim Fregosi was reportedly in critical condition after he was taken off life support at a Miami hospital Thursday. Fregosi had suffered a series of strokes while on a Caribbean cruise earlier this week.
An Angels spokesman confirmed only that Fregosi, 71, had been transported from the Cayman Islands to Miami after he suffered a stroke while on the cruise.
• The Washington Nationals filled the last clear-cut need on their roster on the opening day of spring training, acquiring catcher Jose Lobaton and two prospects from the Tampa Bay Rays for pitcher Nathan Karns.
• The Chicago Cubs agreed to a $6 million, one-year contract with pitcher Jason Hammel. The Cubs also signed pitcher James McDonald to a nonguaranteed deal.
• Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, owner of a $155 million, seven-year contract, threw his first bullpen session under the watch of the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla. Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who announced Wednesday he will retire after the season, said he would address the topic next week on the first official day of spring training.
• The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Michael Brantley agreed on a $25 million, four-year contract, avoiding arbitration.