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Angels’ Pujols says he’ll be ready for opener

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By Jeff Fletcher
The Orange County Register
TEMPE, Ariz. — Albert Pujols has no idea when he’s going to be able to play in spring training games.
Then again, he also doesn’t seem to care.
“If the season started tomorrow I’d be out there playing, but there is no reason for me to go out and play when we have five more weeks before opening day,” the Angels first baseman said Friday.
Pujols, who underwent surgery last October on his right knee, insisted he will be ready by opening day. Asked how many spring training at-bats he would need to make that goal, he said: “None. I’ve got 8,000 at-bats in the big leagues. I think I’ve got plenty.”
Manager Mike Scioscia laughed at hearing Pujols’ response, but conceded that Pujols wouldn’t need a lot of at-bats.
“It’s not going to take many,” Scioscia said. “Whatever that number is, it’s certainly not going to take the 40 to 50 that you might anticipate in spring training. If he’s playing by the middle of March, there’s no doubt he’ll be ready. Even if he’s nursing it a little longer and it takes longer, he’ll be ready.”
Pujols, 33, said he’s been doing everything he would normally do except for full-speed running on the field. So far he’s jogged lightly on the field and run on the treadmill at what he called “a pretty good pace, a better pace than I run in the game.”
The Angels finally got a look at one of their projected major league starters when Jered Weaver made his first appearance of the spring Friday against the Dodgers. Weaver gave up a run on two hits in the first inning, but then he pitched a perfect second.
“The first inning you get a little excited and amped up and it takes a little bit to get into the flow of the game again,” Weaver said. “I felt like I was a little more under control in that second inning.”
Left-hander Sean Burnett is going to throw a bullpen session in the next couple days, Scioscia said. He’ll need one more after that, and then he’ll be ready to get in a game. Assuming no more setbacks, Burnett should be ready for opening day because relievers only need about 10 innings in the spring, Scioscia said. … Right-hander Ryan Madson has extended his throwing to 90 feet. He needs to move out to 105 feet and then 120 feet before he can get on a mound. Madson hasn’t thrown off a mound since Feb. 1. The Angels won’t have a good gauge on how quickly he’ll be ready for the season until he gets back on a mound. … Right-hander Bobby Cassevah, who was outrighted a day earlier, elected free agency instead of a minor league assignment with the Angels. … Erick Aybar is expected to start for the Angels on Saturday and then leave to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
Story tags » Major League Baseball

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