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Pujols likely to be ready for Spring Training

Angels slugger is coming off left knee surgery in August
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols is making progress after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late August, and the Angels believe he'll be ready for the start of Spring Training, general manager Billy Eppler said on Friday.

Pujols, who turned 39 on Jan. 16, has been working out and hitting without any issues in recent weeks, and he is much farther along in his rehab than Shohei Ohtani, who has yet to swing a bat since undergoing Tommy John surgery in October. Ohtani won't be ready for Opening Day.

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols is making progress after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late August, and the Angels believe he'll be ready for the start of Spring Training, general manager Billy Eppler said on Friday.

Pujols, who turned 39 on Jan. 16, has been working out and hitting without any issues in recent weeks, and he is much farther along in his rehab than Shohei Ohtani, who has yet to swing a bat since undergoing Tommy John surgery in October. Ohtani won't be ready for Opening Day.

Ohtani progressing, but won't be ready for OD

"Albert is progressing well," Eppler said. "He's been hitting and increasing his weight training. He's been hitting for a while now. Based on that, we're very optimistic that the next stage for him is when we get out on the field and start moving around a little bit more, and then incorporating at-bats in games and how he responds."

Pujols hit .245/.289/.411 with 19 homers, 20 doubles and 64 RBIs in 117 games in 2018. He'll split time at first base and designated hitter with Justin Bour and Ohtani this season. Pujols figures to be the club's primary designated hitter until Ohtani is ready to return.

Pujols, who is heading into his 19th season in the Majors, leads all active players in games played (2,692), home runs (633), runs (1,773), doubles (639) and RBIs (1,982). He remains under contract through the 2021 season after signing a 10-year, $240-million deal before 2012.

Angels position players report to camp on Feb. 17, with the first full-squad workouts set for Feb. 18. The club's first Cactus League game is set for Feb. 23 against the Giants.

"Everything has been encouraging to this point," Eppler said. "We're excited to get the whole group back together in Tempe [Ariz.]."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Albert Pujols