Pujols happy with progression, ready to run

Angels veteran has had no setbacks in recovery from foot surgery

February 19th, 2017

TEMPE, Ariz. -- said Sunday that he's pleased with the progress he's made since reporting to Angels camp last week.

"It's been really good," Pujols said. "No soreness at all afterwards. That's a good sign anytime you get to start hitting and being in the cage and then moving around and doing agility. I expect myself to probably get a little sore when I get on the field because it's a different movement than being on carpet or whatever. I don't think I'll have any setbacks."

Pujols underwent right foot surgery in December, and his availability for Opening Day remains in question. The 37-year-old slugger has been hitting, taking ground balls and playing catch, and is now working on easing himself back into running. Pujols said he planned to run on an anti-gravity treadmill Sunday, which takes some of the weight off the legs and allows for easier movement.

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"[I'm] introducing myself back to running and then we'll see where we are after that," Pujols said. "Just progressing every day. That's the main thing. We have a lot of time here, so it's not like I need to get ready tomorrow. I think my main goal is just take it easy, do my work, do whatever I have to do that day, whether it's therapy, in the cage, in the field and see how I wake up the next day. So far it's been great the last four or five days."

Pujols will be sidelined when the Angels open Cactus League play Saturday, but he isn't concerned about missing the first batch of Spring Training games. He said the bulk of his preparation for the season comes through hitting in the cage and in batting practice, rather than accumulating at-bats during games.

"I don't really go by at-bats," Pujols said. "For me, it's great to be in the game, but I think the main thing where I get all my work is in the cage and taking batting practice because that's something that I'm repeating myself over and over and I can control it. Obviously you want to have a good spring, you want to have a good impression, but as long as you get your work -- your hitting, your ground balls and your extra hitting -- I think that's what gets you ready."

The Angels will play five additional Cactus League games this year because of the World Baseball Classic, which should also give Pujols enough time to return to game shape.

Pujols batted .268 with 31 home runs and 119 RBIs over 152 games for the Angels in 2016.