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Angels’ Albert Pujols focused on a healthy winter and a bounceback in ’18

By in Press Enterprise on October 1, 2017

By Jeff Fletcher

ANAHEIM — The day after the Angels were eliminated, most of their regulars had the day off, but Albert Pujols was not among them.

Pujols started on Thursday, as he did again on Friday and for Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

By contrast, as the Angels were playing out the string on a losing season last year, Pujols didn’t play at all over the final five games. He was resting a sore right foot that eventually required surgery, making consecutive offseasons with surgery.

As the 37-year-old Pujols enters this winter, he says he’s feeling good, the proof being his presence in the lineup when he could easily be sitting out. On Friday night, he stole a base — which he does occasionally when not held close — and scored from second on a single to left.

The prospect of Pujols having a surgery-free winter is the primary reason he and the Angels are optimistic that he can improve his performance in 2018.

“Just having a full offseason with my training will be awesome,” Pujols said on Saturday. “The last couple years I haven’t been able to come into camp in better shape, the way I always do.”

Pujols said he pushed himself to play following the December procedure on his right plantar fascia. He said during the season he was bothered in May by a sore hamstring and in early September by a knee he jammed on a slide into second, but he’s OK now.

Considering that, he said he’s satisfied with the numbers he produced, most specifically a 14th season of 100 RBIs, equaling Alex Rodriguez’s major league record.

“I wasn’t even supposed to be ready until May to do baseball activity,” Pujols said. “To be able to go to spring training and be able to start right away doing things slowly, I prepared myself […]    

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