Albert Pujols wobbled as he ran Wednesday. It was seen as a sign of progress. Such is life in the Angels’ unstable universe.
Pujols, 33, underwent right knee surgery during the offseason. He wasn’t cleared to run the bases in a competitive setting until this, the Angels’ 17th game of the Cactus League season. And when he reached base — twice, on a fielder’s choice and double — he moved slowly. Very slowly.
This was Pujols’ fourth game overall, but his first without the benefit of a courtesy runner — a concept I hadn’t witnessed in a major league setting since John Goodman’s portrayal of “The Babe.”
“I’m fine, doing good, progressing, sticking with the game plan,” Pujols said after going 1-for-3 in the Angels’ 8-6 loss to San Diego.
And here is where the worry begins: Is this spring an anomaly, the outlier in a generally healthy career, a one-time hardship related to the knee surgery? Or is this a harbinger of compromised seasons to come, an indication that the St. Louis Cardinals were right to project that Pujols’ best years are behind him?
No one — not me, not you, not Pujols, not manager Mike Scioscia — can answer those questions with certainty. We need to watch. And right now, what we see is the greatest hitter of his generation, trying like hell to reach second on a certain double, admirably doing what he can to get ready for April 1.
“That’s our target — Opening Day,” Pujols said. “That’s why we keep going every day, to get myself ready, get my at-bats, do whatever I have to do to get ready for the season.”
Wobbly wheels slowing Pujols
Foxsports.com | Mar 15