How much 1B time will Pujols see in 2019?

Veteran's playing time could be shaped by Ohtani, Bour

March 8th, 2019

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The exact breakdown of how much and where plays in 2019 largely depends on what happens with a couple of his teammates -- namely, , who's expected to DH as early as May, and , whom the team acquired in the offseason for first base depth.

That leaves some questions open as to how new manager Brad Ausmus will juggle playing time for all three, assuming they're all fully healthy at the same time. What's not debatable is Pujols will see some degree of playing time at his usual first base position, and he'll spend much of Spring Training playing there, when he's not DH-ing.

Pujols had 12 spring at-bats before he played the field for the first time on Thursday. He played three innings and had two at-bats during the Angels' 6-2 loss to the Dodgers, going 0-for-2 while making one tricky catch near the Angels' dugout on a Daniel Castro pop up.

"It was an easy play," Pujols said. "The only test there was that I lost it for a minute because the sun was right in my face. All in all, I've been feeling good."

Pujols, who struck out in his first at-bat and flied out to deep center in his second, has repeatedly said he has not had any issues with his left knee since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on it in late August, which ended his 2018 season.

It was an eventful year, prior to the surgery. The 18-year veteran reached the 3,000 hit mark earlier in the season and added to a home run total that is up to 633 for his career.

Overall, the 39-year-old batted .245 with 19 homers and 64 RBIs over 117 games.

Pujols was cleared to start swinging a bat in December, and since then he has largely been preparing for the season the same way he always has in his nearly two-decades-long career.

"There are things you work on in the offseason and Spring Training and you put it in the game," Pujols said. "You always want good results. I never get caught up on if it's good, or it's bad. It's just as long as you go out there and you get your work done every day."

As is customary for veterans during Spring Training, Pujols has already mapped out his schedule with his manager. Pujols said he'll DH on Friday against the White Sox and will play five innings at first base on Sunday, a home game with the Mariners.

Playing time during Spring Training doesn't translate for any player into the regular season, so there's nothing more to gauge from Pujols' routine the rest of this month, except how healthy he is.

So far, the results have been favorable.

"They don't hand out any awards in Spring Training, so you don't have to worry about that," Pujols said. "Getting healthy and doing the things you're capable of doing -- I just try to get myself ready to go."

Up next
Left-hander , who was dealing with minor elbow inflammation after his last outing, will take the mound for the Angels when they host the White Sox at Tempe Diablo Stadium Friday at 1:10 p.m. MT. The White Sox will start lefty Manny Banuelos. The game will be televised on Fox Sports West.