Trout on Pujols: 'I can't thank him enough'

May 8th, 2021

The news of getting designated for assignment by the Angels on Thursday came as a shock to many people in the baseball world.

That includes his now former teammate .

It wasn’t until reliever Steve Cishek came up to the Angels center fielder asking if everything was all right with Pujols, who was seen hugging and talking to some teammates after Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Rays, that Trout became aware of what was going on.

“I really didn't know it was happening,” Trout said on Friday. “Until after the game, Cishek came in and was like, 'Hey, do you know anything that happened to Albert?'

“I said, ‘No, what do you got?’ [Cishek] goes, 'He's hugging some teammates,' and I was like, ‘Man, that doesn't sound right.’”

Trout then went to talk to Pujols and found out firsthand that the veteran first baseman was getting DFA’d.

Trout, who had called the fellow future Hall of Famer his teammate for the last 10 years, said it was an emotional moment.

“And I went out there and yeah, [I] broke down a little bit,” Trout said. “Just knowing that, you know, he's been here for the whole time I've been here and, you know, how can it be gone just like that?”

Both shared a number of career milestones as teammates. As Pujols etched himself in the history books with home runs No. 500 and 600 and hit No. 3,000, Trout piled up his own accomplishments, winning American League Rookie of the Year and three AL MVP Awards.

Trout said getting to build a relationship with Pujols off the field is what he will cherish from their time as teammates.

“I can't thank him enough,” Trout said. “I've always said this -- obviously, all this stuff he accomplished on the field, it's pretty incredible. Being able to see him pass these Hall of Fame guys night in and night out these last few years, it's been incredible. All that stuff is great, but he's a better person, a better teammate.”

With the Angels' baseball operations department deciding that Jared Walsh was the club’s best option at first base after weeks of discussions, and two-way star Shohei Ohtani getting more at-bats in the designated hitter spot, Pujols would have been relegated to a bench role with the club.

After a talk on Wednesday night that ended on good terms between Pujols, Angels general manager Perry Minasian and team president John Carpino, both parties felt it was a best to allow Pujols to explore free agency as he seeks a role as an everyday player in the Majors.

Trout described Pujols as “in a good place” following their conversations. He also hopes that Pujols finds an everyday role for a MLB club, given Pujols’ ambition to continue his playing career.

“He wants to play every day,” Trout said. “You could tell like, when he's not playing, he wants to be out there with the team. … I hope he finds a team that can let him play every day, and you know, what his body allows him to do, because he's a competitor. You want him out there.”