TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Albert Pujols played in his first game since foot surgery, going 0 for 2 with a walk in the Los Angeles Angels' 4-2 spring training loss to San Diego on Friday.
"It just feels good to be back, wearing the uniform and being out with the guys," Pujols said.
Batting third as the designated hitter, Pujols grounded out to third base on a 1-0 pitch in his first at-bat. In the third inning, he drew a walk after fouling off a full-count pitch against starter Clayton Richard. Pujols grounded out again in the fifth.
Pujols had surgery on his right foot in December after trying a less invasive treatment program that didn't work quickly enough. The three-time NL MVP has said he expects to be ready for opening day.
Manager Mike Scioscia said Pujols should be ready physically, and that the goal is to get him enough at-bats in the spring to be locked in for the season.
The Angels likely will play Pujols mostly as a designated hitter again this season to minimize his movement until he is fully healthy. He was a DH for 123 games last season, when he played only 28 games at first base. He hit .268 with 31 home runs and was fourth in the majors with 119 RBIs.
Pujols, who has five years and $140 million remaining on the deal he signed as a free agent before the 2012 season, said he's not even thinking about getting into a spring game at first base, and he isn't concerned about his timing right now. And he's not worried about how many games he plays in Arizona, adding that the important work comes in the batting cage,
"It's always good to get some at-bats," Pujols said. "What gets me ready is what I've been doing my whole career, taking my reps in the cage, taking batting practice and stuff like that."
And he still has three more weeks to do that before the season opener April 3 at Oakland.