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Pujols doing well in recovery, begins running

MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels slugger Albert Pujols has started running on the field and participating in defensive drills, taking another step forward in his recovery from foot surgery.

"He's running straight ahead," manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday. "He ran it yesterday and will continue that pace until he's 100 percent go and his gait looks good and that he carries over the next day. I think the biggest thing is to see how these guys rebound. He'll be fine. He's doing very well."

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels slugger Albert Pujols has started running on the field and participating in defensive drills, taking another step forward in his recovery from foot surgery.

"He's running straight ahead," manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday. "He ran it yesterday and will continue that pace until he's 100 percent go and his gait looks good and that he carries over the next day. I think the biggest thing is to see how these guys rebound. He'll be fine. He's doing very well."

Pujols, who underwent surgery to release the plantar fascia on his right foot in December, has been making steady progress this spring, though he is still questionable for Opening Day. If Pujols is not available to start the season, the Angels plan to use Luis Valbuena and C.J. Cron at first base and designated hitter.

Worth noting

• Third baseman Yunel Escobar appears to have passed his United States naturalization test, which he was scheduled to take Thursday in Miami.

"Today is one of the proudest days of my life on my way to becoming [an] American citizen," Escobar wrote in an Instagram post. "[T]hanks to everybody that was there for me in making this honor come true."

Escobar, who defected from his native Cuba in 2004, is expected back in Angels camp Friday.

• Scioscia said the Angels' top three relievers -- right-handers Huston Street, Andrew Bailey and Cam Bedrosian -- will all make their Cactus League debuts in the coming days. Since the exhibition schedule is longer this year because of the World Baseball Classic, Scioscia said there was no need for the trio to see action so early in the spring.

• After coming back to defeat the split-squad Giants, 5-4, on Thursday, the Angels are now unbeaten in 17 consecutive Spring Training games dating back to last year. The Halos finished the 2016 spring by going 9-0-2 and are now off to a perfect 6-0 start in Cactus League play this year.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Albert Pujols